TRANSLATION STUDIES – Susan Bassnett (3ª ed., 2002)


In 1978, in a brief Appendix to the collected papers of the 1976 Louvain Colloquium on Literature and Translation, André Lefevere proposed that the name Translation Studies should be adopted for the discipline that concerns itself with <the problems raised by the production and description of translations>.”

The art of translation is a subsidiary art and derivative. On this account it has never been granted the dignity of original work, and has suffered too much in the general judgement of letters.” Belloc

studies purporting to discuss translation <scientifically> are often little more than idiosyncratic value judgements of randomly selected translations of the work of major writers such as Homer, Rilke, Baudelaire or Shakespeare. What is analysed in such studies is the product only, the end result of the translation process and not the process itself.”

1791 had seen the publication of the first theoretical essay on translation in English, Alexander Tytler’s Essay on the Principles of Translation

Hence Dante Gabriel Rossetti could declare in 1861 that the work of the translator involved self-denial and repression of his own creative impulses” “At the opposite extreme Edward Fitzgerald, writing about Persian poetry in 1851, could state <It is an amusement to me to take what liberties I like with these Persians, who, (as I think) are not Poets enough to frighten one from such excursions, and who really do want a little Art to shape them.>” “These two positions are both quite consistent with the growth of colonial imperialism in the nineteenth century. From these positions derives the ambiguity with which translations have come to be regarded in the twentieth century.” “Hence a growing number of British or North American students read Greek and Latin authors in translation or study major nineteenth-century prose works or twentieth-century theatre texts whilst treating the translated text as if it were originally written in their own language.”

Some scholars, such as Theodore Savory, define translation as an <art>; others, such as Eric Jacobsen, define it as a <craft>; whilst others, perhaps more sensibly, borrow from the German and describe it as a <science>. Horst Frenz even goes so far as to opt for <art> but with qualifications, claiming that <translation is neither a creative art nor an imitative art, but stands somewhere between the two.>”

The most important advances in Translation Studies in the twentieth century derive from the ground-work done by groups in Russia in the 1920s and subsequently by the Prague Linguistic Circle and its disciples. Vološinov’s work on Marxism and philosophy, Mukařovský’s on the semiotics of art, Jakobson, Prochazka and Levý on translation have all established new criteria for the founding of a theory of translation and have showed that, far from being a dilettante pursuit accessible to anyone with a minimal knowledge of another language, translation is, as Randolph Quirk puts it, <one of the most difficult tasks that a writer can take upon himself.>” “To divorce the theory from the practice, to set the scholar against the practitioner as has happened in other disciplines, would be tragic indeed.”

The fourth category, loosely called Translation and Poetics, includes the whole area of literary translation, in theory and practice. Studies may be general or genre-specific, including investigation of the particular problems of translating poetry, theatre texts or libretti and the affiliated problem of translation for the cinema, whether dubbing or sub-titling. Under this category also come studies of the poetics of individual, translators and comparisons between them, studies of the problems of formulating a poetics, and studies of the interrelationship between SL [Source Language] and TL [Target Language] texts and author—translator—reader.” “It is important for the student of translation to be mindful of the four general categories, even while investigating one specific area of interest, in order to avoid fragmentation.”

All too often, in discussing their work, translators avoid analysis of their own methods and concentrate on exposing the frailties of other translators. Critics, on the other hand, frequently evaluate a translation from one or other of two limited standpoints: from the narrow view of the closeness of the translation to the SL text (an evaluation that can only be made if the critic has access to both languages) or from the treatment of the TL text as a work in their own language. And whilst this latter position clearly has some validity—it is, after all, important that a play should be playable and a poem should be readable—the arrogant way in which critics will define a translation as good or bad from a purely monolingual position again indicates the peculiar position occupied by translation vis-à-vis another type of metatext (a work derived from, or containing another existing text), literary criticism itself.

In his famous reply to Matthew Arnold’s attack on his translation of Homer, Francis Newman declared that

Scholars are the tribunal of Erudition, but of Taste the educated but unlearned public is the only rightful judge; and to it I wish to appeal. Even scholars collectively have no right, and much less have single scholars, to pronounce a final sentence on questions of taste in their court.



In his useful book Translating Poetry, Seven Strategies and a Blueprint, André Lefevere compares translations of Catullus’ Poem 64 with a view not to comparative evaluation but in order to show the difficulties and at times advantages of a particular method. For there is no universal canon according to which texts may be assessed. There are whole sets of canons that shift and change and each text is involved in a continuing dialectical relationship with those sets. There can no more be the ultimate translation than there can be the ultimate poem or the ultimate novel

The nineteenth-century English concern with reproducing <period flavour> by the use of archaisms in translated texts, often caused the TL text to be more inaccessible to the reader than the SL text itself. In contrast, the seventeenth-century French propensity to gallicize the Greeks even down to details of furniture and clothing was a tendency that German translators reacted to with violent opposition. Chapman’s energetic Renaissance Homer is far removed from Pope’s controlled, masterly eighteenth-century version.”

if there are criteria to be established for the evaluation of a translation, those criteria will be established from within the discipline and not from without.”


The first step towards an examination of the processes of translation must be to accept that although translation has a central core of linguistic activity, it belongs most properly to semiotics, the science that studies sign systems or structures, sign processes and sign functions (Hawkes, Structuralism and Semiotics, London 1977).”

Language, then, is the heart within the body of culture, and it is the interaction between the two that results in the continuation of life-energy. In the same way that the surgeon, operating on the heart, cannot neglect the body that surrounds it, so the translator treats the text in isolation from the culture at his peril.”

Jakobson declares that all poetic art is therefore technically untranslatable” “Jakobson gives the example of the Russian word syr (a food made of fermented pressed curds [tecnicamente, coalhada, tofu ou queijo coalho]) which translates roughly into English as cottage cheese. In this case, Jakobson claims, the translation is only an adequate interpretation of an alien code unit and equivalence is impossible.”

consider the question of translating yes and hello into French, German and Italian. This task would seem, at first glance, to be straightforward, since all are Indo-European languages, closely related lexically and syntactically, and terms of greeting and assent are common to all three. For yes standard dictionaries give:

French: oui, si

German: ja

Italian: si

It is immediately obvious that the existence of two terms in French involves a usage that does not exist in the other languages. Further investigation shows that whilst oui is the generally used term, si is used specifically in cases of contradiction, contention and dissent. The English translator, therefore, must be mindful of this rule when translating the English word that remains the same in all contexts.” “French, German and Italian all frequently double or <string> affirmatives in a way that is outside standard English procedures (e.g. si, si, si; ja, ja, etc). Hence the Italian or German translation of yes by a single word can, at times, appear excessively brusque, whilst the stringing together of affirmatives in English is so hyperbolic that it often creates a comic effect.”

Whilst English does not distinguish between the word used when greeting someone face to face and that used when answering the telephone, French, German and Italian all do make that distinction. The Italian pronto can only be used as a telephonic greeting, like the German hallo. Moreover, French and German use as forms of greeting brief rhetorical questions, whereas the same question in English How are you? or How do you do? is only used in more formal situations. The Italian ciao, by far the most common form of greeting in all sections of Italian society, is used equally on arrival and departure, being a word of greeting linked to a moment of contact between individuals either coming or going and not to the specific context of arrival or initial encounter.” “Jakobson would describe this as interlingual transposition, while Ludskanov would call it a semiotic transformation

butter in British English carries with it a set of associations of whole-someness, purity and high status (in comparison to margarine, once perceived only as second-rate butter though now marketed also as practical because it does not set hard under refrigeration).

When translating butter into Italian there is a straightforward word-for-word substitution: butter—burro. Both butter and burro describe the product made from milk and marketed as a creamy-coloured slab of edible grease for human consumption. And yet within their separate cultural contexts butter and burro cannot be considered as signifying the same. In Italy, burro, normally light coloured and unsalted, is used primarily for cooking, and carries no associations of high status, whilst in Britain butter, most often bright yellow and salted, is used for spreading on bread and less frequently in cooking. Because of the high status of butter, the phrase bread and butter is the accepted usage even where the product used is actually margarine.” “The butter—burro translation, whilst perfectly adequate on one level, also serves as a reminder of the validity of Sapir’s statement that each language represents a separate reality.” “Good appetite in English used outside a structured sentence is meaningless. Nor is there any English phrase in general use that fulfills the same function as the French.”

The translator, Levý believed, had the responsibility of finding a solution to the most daunting of problems, and he declared that the functional view must be adopted with regard not only to meaning but also to style and form. The wealth of studies on Bible translation and the documentation of the way in which individual translators of the Bible attempt to solve their problems through ingenious solutions is a particularly rich source of examples of semiotic transformation.

Hence Albrecht Neubert’s view that Shakespeare’s Sonnet <Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?> cannot be semantically translated into a language where summers are unpleasant is perfectly proper”

Giovanni sta menando il can per I’aia.


John is leading his dog around the threshing floor.

The image conjured up by this sentence is somewhat startling and, unless the context referred quite specifically to such a location, the sentence would seem obscure and virtually meaningless. The English idiom that most closely corresponds to the Italian is to beat about the bush, also obscure unless used idiomatically, and hence the sentence correctly translated becomes

John is beating about the bush.

Não é que seja tradução livre. É que estamos condenados a ir além da liberdade!



“o <elo perdido> entre os componentes de uma teoria completa das traduções parece ser a teoria das relações de equivalência que possam ser estabelecidas tanto para o modelo dinâmico quanto para o modelo estático.”

E que valência têm seus vãos louros?

E.V.Rieu’s deliberate decision to translate Homer into English prose because the significance of the epic form in Ancient Greece could be considered equivalent to the significance of prose in modern Europe, is a case of dynamic equivalence applied to the formal properties of a text which shows that Nida’s categories can actually be in conflict with each other.”

Formules are for mules

Hence a woman writing to a friend in 1812 would no more have signed her letters with love or in sisterhood as a contemporary Englishwoman might, any more than an Italian would conclude letters without a series of formal greetings to the recipient of the letter and his relations.”

stress that you are stressed

It is again an indication of the low status of translation that so much time should have been spent on discussing what is lost in the transfer of a text from SL to TL whilst ignoring what can also be gained, for the translator can at times enrich or clarify the SL text as a direct result of the translation process.”

Nida cites the case of Guaica, a language of southern Venezuela, where there is little trouble in finding satisfactory terms for the English murder, stealing, lying, etc., but where the terms for good, bad, ugly and beautiful cover a very different area of meaning. As an example, he points out that Guaica does not follow a dichotomous classification of good and bad, but a trichotomous one as follows:

(1) Good includes desirable food, killing enemies, chewing dope in moderation, putting fire to one’s wife to teach her to obey, and stealing from anyone not belonging to the same band.

(2) Bad includes rotten fruit, any object with a blemish, murdering a person of the same band, stealing from a member of the extended family and lying to anyone.

(3) Violating taboo includes incest, being too close to one’s mother-in-law, a married woman’s eating tapir before the birth of the first child, and a child’s eating rodents.”

“Nida cita o caso do Guaica, uma língua do sul da Venezuela, em que não é complicado encontrar termos satisfatórios para os vocábulos do Inglês assassinato, furto, mentir, etc., mas em que os termos bom, ruim, feio e bonito se estendem a uma zona de significados muito distinta. Por exemplo, ele assinala que o Guaica não segue uma classificação dicotômica de bom e ruim, mas uma classificação tricotômica, como segue:

(1) Bom inclui a comida desejável, matar inimigos, mastigar maconha com moderação, provocar queimaduras nas esposas como repreensão pela insubordinação ao marido, roubar alguém desde que não seja do seu clã.

(2) Ruim inclui frutas podres, qualquer objeto maculado, matar alguém do próprio clã, roubar de um membro da própria linhagem familiar e mentir sob quaisquer circunstâncias.

(3) Violar o tabu inclui incesto, ser muito íntimo da sogra, se uma mulher casada come carne de anta antes de dar a luz ao primeiro filho, uma criança comer roedores.”

Nor is it necessary to look so far beyond Europe for examples of this kind of differentiation. The large number of terms in Finnish for variations of snow, in Arabic for aspects of camel behaviour, in English for light and water, in French for types of bread, all present the translator with, on one level, an untranslatable problem. Bible translators have documented the additional difficulties involved in, for example, the concept of the Trinity or the social significance of the parables in certain cultures [eu não sabia o tamanho de um grão de mostarda!]. In addition to the lexical problems, there are of course languages that do not have tense systems or concepts of time that in any way correspond to Indo-European systems. Whorf’s comparison (which may not be reliable, but is cited here as a theoretical example) between a <temporal language> (English) and a <timeless language> (Hopi) serves to illustrate this aspect.”

If I’m going home is translated as Je vais chez moi, the content meaning of the SL sentence (i.e. self-assertive statement of intention to proceed to place of residence and/or origin) is only loosely reproduced. And if, for example, the phrase is spoken by an American resident temporarily in London, it could either imply a return to the immediate <home> or a return across the Atlantic, depending on the context in which it is used, a distinction that would have to be spelled out in French. Moreover the English term home, like the French foyer, has a range of associative meanings that are not translated by the more restricted phrase chez moi. Home, therefore, would appear to present exactly the same range of problems as the Finnish or Japanese bathroom.”


the American Democratic Party

the German Democratic Republic

the democratic wing of the British Conservative Party.”

Against Catford, in so far as language is the primary modelling system within a culture, cultural untranslatability must be de facto implied in any process of translation.”

A slightly more difficult example is the case of the Italian tomponamento in the sentence C’è stato un tamponamento.

There has been/there was a slight accident (involving a vehicle).

Because of the differences in tense-usage, the TL sentence may take one of two forms depending on the context of the sentence, and because of the length of the noun phrase, this can also be cut down, provided the nature of the accident can be determined outside the sentence by the receiver. But when the significance of tomponamento is considered vis-à-vis Italian society as a whole, the term cannot be fully understood without some knowledge of Italian driving habits, the frequency with which <slight accidents> occur and the weighting and relevance of such incidents when they do occur. In short, tomponamento is a sign that has a culture-bound or context meaning, which cannot be translated even by an explanatory phrase. The relation between the creative subject and its linguistic expression cannot therefore be adequately replaced in the translation. [Barbeiragem?]”

SUPERESTIMANDO A ALTURA DAS MONTANHAS: “Boguslav Lawendowski, in an article in which he attempts to sum up the state of translation studies and semiotics, feels that Catford is <divorced from reality>, while Georges Mounin feels that too much attention has been given to the problem of untranslatability at the expense of solving some of the actual problems that the translator has to deal with.”

Mounin acknowledges the great benefits that advances in linguistics have brought to Translation Studies; the development of structural linguistics, the work of Saussure, of Hjelmslev, of the Moscow and Prague Linguistic Circles has been of great value, and the work of Chomsky and the transformational linguists has also had its impact, particularly with regard to the study of semantics. Mounin feels that it is thanks to developments in contemporary linguistics that we can (and must) accept that:

(1) Personal experience in its uniqueness is untranslatable.

(2) In theory the base units of any two languages (e.g. phonemes, monemes, etc.) are not always comparable.

(3) Communication is possible when account is taken of the respective situations of speaker and hearer, or author and translator.”

Translation theory tends to be normative, to instruct translators on the OPTIMAL solution; actual translation work, however, is pragmatic; the translator resolves for that one of the possible solutions which promises a maximum of effect with a minimum of effort. That is to say, he intuitively resolves for the so-called MINIMAX STRATEGY.” Levý

literary criticism does not seek to provide a set of instructions for producing the ultimate poem or novel, but rather to understand the internal and external structures operating within and around a work of art.”

it would seem quite clear that any debate about the existence of a science of translation is out of date: there already exists, with Translation Studies, a serious discipline investigating the process of translation, attempting to clarify the question of equivalence and to examine what constitutes meaning within that process. But nowhere is there a theory that pretends to be normative, and although Lefevere’s statement about the goal of the discipline suggests that a comprehensive theory might also be used as a guideline for producing translations, this is a long way from suggesting that the purpose of translation theory is to be proscriptive.”


The persecution of Bible translators during the centuries when scholars were avidly translating and retranslating Classical Greek and Roman authors is an important link in the chain of the development of capitalism and the decline of feudalism. In the same way, the hermeneutic approach of the great English and German Romantic translators connects with changing concepts of the role of the individual in the social context. It cannot be emphasized too strongly that the study of translation, especially in its diachronic aspect, is a vital part of literary and cultural history.”

George Steiner, in After Babel, divides the literature on the theory, practice and history of translation into 4 periods. The first, he claims, extends from the statements of Cicero and Horace on translation up to the publication of Alexander Fraser Tytler’s Essay on the Principles of Translation in 1791. (…) Steiner’s second period, which runs up to the publication of Larbaud’s Sous I’invocation de Saint Jérome in 1946 is characterized as a period of theory and hermeneutic enquiry with the development of a vocabulary and methodology of approaching translation. The third period begins with the publication of the first papers on machine translation in the 1940s, and is characterized by the introduction of structural linguistics and communication theory into the study of translation. Steiner’s fourth period, coexisting with the third has its origins in the early 1960s and is characterized by <a reversion to hermeneutic, almost metaphysical inquiries into translation and interpretation>” “his first period covers a span of some 1700 years while his last two periods cover a mere thirty years.” “His quadripartite division is, to say the least, highly idiosyncratic, but it does manage to avoid one great pitfall: periodization, or compartmentalization of literary history. It is virtually impossible to divide periods according to dates for, as Lotman points out, human culture is a dynamic system.”

Classical philology and comparative literature, lexical statistics and ethnography, the sociology of class-speech, formal rhetoric, poetics, and the study of grammar are combined in an attempt to clarify the act of translation and the process of <life between languages>.” Ge.St.

There is a large body of literature that attempts to decide whether Petrarch and Chaucer were medieval or Renaissance writers, whether Rabelais was a medieval mind post hoc, or whether Dante was a Renaissance mind two centuries too soon.”

André Lefevere has compiled a collection of statements and documents on translation that traces the establishment of a German tradition of translation, starting with Luther and moving on via Gottsched and Goethe to the Schlegels [?] and Schleiermacher and ultimately to Rosenzweig.”


All too often, however, studies of past translators and translations have focused more on the question of influence; on the effect of the TL product in a given cultural context, rather than on the processes involved in the creation of that product and on the theory behind the creation. So, for example, in spite of a number of critical statements about the significance of translation in the development of the Roman literary canon, there has yet to be a systematic study of Roman translation theory in English. The claims summed up by Matthiesson when he declared that <a study of Elizabethan translations is a study of the means by which the Renaissance came to England> are not backed by any scientific investigation of the same.”

Eric Jacobsen claims rather sweepingly that translation is a Roman invention, and although this may be considered as a piece of critical hyperbole, it does serve as a starting point from which to focus attention on the role and status of translation for the Romans. The views of both Cicero and Horace on translation were to have great influence on successive generations of translators, and both discuss translation within the wider context of the two main functions of the poet: the universal human duty of acquiring and disseminating wisdom and the special art of making and shaping a poem.

The significance of translation in Roman literature has often been used to accuse the Romans of being unable to create imaginative literature in their own right, at least until the first century BC. Stress has been laid on the creative imagination of the Greeks as opposed to the more practical Roman mind, and the Roman exaltation of their Greek models has been seen as evidence of their lack of originality. But the implied value judgement in such a generalization is quite wrong. The Romans perceived themselves as a continuation of their Greek models and Roman literary critics discussed Greek texts without seeing the language of those texts as being in any way an inhibiting factor. The Roman literary system sets up a hierarchy of texts and authors that overrides linguistic boundaries and that system in turn reflects the Roman ideal of the hierarchical yet caring central state based on the true law of Reason. Cicero points out that mind dominates the body as a king rules over his subjects or a father controls his children, but warns that where Reason dominates as a master ruling his slaves, <it keeps them down and crushes them>. With translation, the ideal SL text is there to be imitated and not to be crushed by the too rigid application of Reason. Cicero nicely expresses this distinction: <If I render word for word, the result will sound uncouth, and if compelled by necessity I alter anything in the order or wording, I shall seem to have departed from the function of a translator.>

Horace, whilst advising the would-be writer to avoid the pitfalls that beset <the slavish translator> [o imitador barato], also advised the sparing use of new words. He compared the process of the addition of new words and the decline of other words to the changing of the leaves in spring and autumn, seeing this process of enrichment through translation as both natural and desirable, provided the writer exercised moderation. The art of the translator, for Horace and Cicero, then, consisted in judicious interpretation of the SL text so as to produce a TL version based on the principle non verbum de verbo, sed sensum exprimere de sensu (of expressing not word for word, but sense for sense), and his responsibility was to the TL readers.

But there is also an additional dimension to the Roman concept of enrichment through translation, i.e. the pre-eminence of Greek as the language of culture and the ability of educated Romans to read texts in the SL. When these factors are taken into account, then the position both of translator and reader alters. The Roman reader was generally able to consider the translation as a metatext in relation to the original. The translated text was read through the source text, in contrast to the way in which a monolingual reader can only approach the SL text through the TL version.”

Ser compilador não era algo degradante per se.

The good translator, therefore, presupposed the reader’s acquaintance with the SL text and was bound by that knowledge, for any assessment of his skill as translator would be based on the creative use he was able to make of his model.”

Bien que…: “Longinus, in his Essay On the Sublime, cites <imitation and emulation of the great historians and poets of the past> as one of the paths towards the sublime and translation is one aspect of imitation in the Roman concept of literary production.”

Moreover, it should not be forgotten that with the extension of the Roman Empire, bilingualism and trilingualism became increasingly commonplace, and the gulf between oral and literary Latin widened. The apparent licence of Roman translators, much quoted in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, must therefore be seen in the context of the overall system in which that approach to translation was applied.

With the spread of Christianity, translation came to acquire another role, that of disseminating the word of God. A religion as text-based as Christianity presented the translator with a mission that encompassed both aesthetic and evangelistic criteria. The history of Bible translation is accordingly a history of western culture in microcosm. Translations of the New Testament were made very early, and St Jerome’s famous contentious version that was to have such influence on succeeding generations of translators was commissioned by Pope Damasus in AD 384.” “but the problem of the fine line between what constituted stylistic licence and what constituted heretical interpretation was to remain a major stumbling block for centuries. § Bible translation remained a key issue well into the seventeenth century, and the problems intensified with the growth of concepts of national cultures and with the coming of the Reformation. Translation came to be used as a weapon in both dogmatic and political conflicts as nation states began to emerge and the centralization of the church started to weaken, evidenced in linguistic terms by the decline of Latin as a universal language. § The first translation of the complete Bible into English was the Wycliffite Bible produced between 1380 and 1384, which marked the start of a great flowering of English Bible translations linked to changing attitudes to the role of the written text in the church, that formed part of the developing Reformation. John Wycliffe (c. 1330–84), the noted Oxford theologian, put forward the theory of <dominion by grace> according to which man was immediately responsible to God and God’s law (by which Wycliffe intended not canon law but the guidance of the Bible). Since Wycliffe’s theory meant that the Bible was applicable to all human life it followed that each man should be granted access to that crucial text in a language that he could understand, i.e. in the vernacular.” “his disciple John Purvey revised the first edition some time before 1408 (the first dated manuscript).”


(1) a collaborative effort of collecting old Bibles and glosses and establishing an authentic Latin source text;

(2) a comparison of the versions;

(3) counselling <with old grammarians and old divines> about hard words and complex meanings; and

(4) translating as clearly as possible the <sentence> (i.e. meaning), with the translation corrected by a group of collaborators.”

After the Wycliffite versions, the next great English translation was William Tyndale’s (1494–1536) New Testament printed in 1525. Tyndale’s proclaimed intention in translating was also to offer as clear a version as possible to the layman, and by the time he was burned at the stake in 1536 he had translated the New Testament from the Greek and parts of the Old Testament from the Hebrew.”

In 1482, the Hebrew Pentateuch had been printed at Bologna and the complete Hebrew Bible appeared in 1488, whilst Erasmus, the Dutch Humanist, published the first Greek New Testament in Basle in 1516. This version was to serve as the basis for Martin Luther’s 1522 German version. Translations of the New Testament appeared in Danish in 1529 and again in 1550, in Swedish in 1526–41, and the Czech Bible appeared between 1579–93. Translations and revised versions of existing translations continued to appear in English, Dutch, German and French.”

I would desire that all women should reade the gospell and Paules episteles and I wold to God they were translated in to the tonges of all men so that they might not only be read and knowne of the scotes and yrishmen/

But also of the Turkes and the Sarracenes…. I wold to God the plowman wold singe a texte of the scripture at his plow-beme. And that the wever at his lowme with this wold drive away the tediousnes of tyme. I wold the wayfaringeman with this pastyme wold expelle the weriness of his iorney. And to be shorte I wold that all the communication of the christen shuld be of the scripture for in a manner such are we oure selves as our daylye tales are.” Erasmus

Coverdale’s Bible (1535) was also banned but the tide of Bible translation could not be stemmed, and each successive version drew on the work of previous translators, borrowing, amending, revising and correcting.”

(1) To clarify errors arising from previous versions, due to inadequate SL manuscripts or to linguistic incompetence;

(2) To produce an accessible and aesthetically satisfying vernacular style;

(3) To clarify points of dogma and reduce the extent to which the scriptures were interpreted and re-presented to the laypeople as a metatext.

In his Circular Letter on Translation of 1530 Martin Luther lays such emphasis on the significance of (2) that he uses the verbs übersetzen (to translate) and verdeutschen (to Germanize) almost indiscriminately.”

In an age when the choice of a pronoun could mean the difference between life or condemnation to death as a heretic, precision was of central importance.”

In the Preface to the King James Bible of 1611, entitled The Translators to the Reader, the question is asked <is the kingdom of God words or syllables?>”

With regard to English, for example, the Lindisfarne Gospels (copied out c. AD 700), had a literal rendering of the Latin original inserted between the lines in the tenth century in Northumbrian dialect. These glosses subordinated notions of stylistic excellence to the word-for-word method, but may still be fairly described as translations, since they involved a process of interlingual transfer. However, the system of glossing was only one aspect of translation in the centuries that saw the emergence of distinct European languages in a written form. In the ninth century King Alfred (reign 871–99), who had translated (or caused to be translated) a number of Latin texts, declared that the purpose of translating was to help the English people to recover from the devastation of the Danish invasions that had laid waste the old monastic centres of learning and had demoralized and divided the kingdom. In his Preface to his translation of the Cura Pastoralis (a handbook for parish priests) Alfred urges a revival of learning through greater accessibility of texts as a direct result of translations into the vernacular, and at the same time he asserts the claims of English as a literary language in its own right. Discussing the way in which the Romans translated texts for their own purposes, as did <all other Christian nations>, Alfred states that <I think it better, if you agree, that we also translate some of the books that all men should know into the language that we can all understand.> In translating the Cura Pastoralis, Alfred claims to have followed the teachings of his bishop and priests and to have rendered the text hwilum word be worde, hwilum andgiet of andgiete (sometimes word by word, sometimes sense by sense), an interesting point in that it implies that the function of the finished product was the determining factor in the translation process rather than any established canon of procedure. Translation is perceived as having a moral and didactic purpose with a clear political role to play, far removed from its purely instrumental role in the study of rhetoric that coexisted at the same time.

The concept of translation as a writing exercise and as a means of improving oratorical style was an important component in the medieval educational system based on the study of the Seven Liberal Arts. This system, as passed down from such Roman theoreticians as Quintilian (first century AD) whose Institutio Oratoria was a seminal text, established two areas of study, the Trivium (grammar, rhetoric and dialectic) and the Quadrivium (arithmetic, geometry, music and astronomy), with the Trivium as the basis for philosophical knowledge.” “Quintilian recommends translating from Greek into Latin as a variation on paraphrasing original Latin texts in order to extend and develop the student’s imaginative powers.”

In his useful article on vulgarization and translation, Gianfranco Folena suggests that medieval translation might be described either as vertical, by which he intends translation into the vernacular from a SL that has a special prestige or value (e.g. Latin), or as horizontal, where both SL and TL have a similar value (e.g. Provençal into Italian, Norman-French into English).” “And whilst the vertical approach splits into two distinct types, the interlinear gloss, or word-for-word technique, as opposed to the Ciceronian sense-for-sense method, elaborated by Quintilian’s concept of para-phrase, the horizontal approach involves complex questions of imitatio and borrowing.”

Within the opus of a single writer, such as Chaucer (c. 1340–1400) there is a range of texts that include acknowledged translations, free adaptations, conscious borrowings, reworkings and close correspondences.”

One of the first writers to formulate a theory of translation was the French humanist Étienne Dolet (1509–46) who was tried and executed for heresy after <mistranslating> one of Plato’s dialogues in such a way as to imply disbelief in immortality. In 1540 Dolet published a short outline of translation principles, entitled La manière de bien traduire d’une langue en aultre (How to Translate Well from one Language into Another)

the frequent replacement of indirect discourse by direct discourse in North’s translation of Plutarch (1579), a device that adds immediacy and vitality to the text”

Translation was by no means a secondary activity, but a primary one, exerting a shaping force on the intellectual life of the age, and at times the figure of the translator appears almost as a revolutionary activist rather than the servant of an original author or text.”

O DEMORADO ECO ITALIANO: “Translation of the classics increased considerably in France between 1625 and 1660, the great age of French classicism and of the flowering of French theatre based on the Aristotelian unities. French writers and theorists were in turn enthusiastically translated into English.”

for it is not his business alone to translate Language into Language, but Poesie into Poesie; and Poesie is of so subtile a spirit, that in pouring out of one Language into another, it will all evaporate; and if a new spirit be not added in the transfusion, there will remain nothing but a Caput mortuum.” John Denham

“o prefácio de Cowley foi tomado como o manifesto dos <tradutores libertinos dos fins do século XVII>.”


I have endeavoured to make Virgil speak such English as he would himself have spoken, if he had been born in England, and in this present age.” Dryden

NÓS OS JURAMENTADOS HÁ 200 ANOS ÉRAMOS MAIS DESIMPEDIDOS: “The impulse to clarify and make plain the essential spirit of a text led to large-scale rewritings of earlier texts to fit them to contemporary standards of language and taste. Hence the famous re-structuring of Shakespearian texts, and the translations/reworkings of Racine. Dr. [nem existia doutorado nessa época, fala sério] Johnson (1709–84), in his Life of Pope [que não era o Papa] (1779–80), discussing the question of additions to a text through translation, comments that if elegance is gained, surely it is desirable, provided nothing is taken away [mais é mais], and goes on to state that <the purpose of a writer is to be read> [diria que acertou em cheio, mas não é muito difícil…], claiming that Pope wrote for his own time and his own nation. The right of the individual to be addressed in his own terms, on his own ground is an important element in eighteenth-century translation and is linked to changing concepts of <originality>.”

Pope’s Andromache [Ilíada] suffers and despairs, whilst Chapman’s Andromache comes across as a warrior in her own right. Chapman’s use of direct verbs gives a dramatic quality to the scene, whilst Pope’s Latinate structures emphasize the agony of expectation leading up to the moment when the horror is plain to see. And even that horror is quite differently presented—Pope’s <god-like Hector> contrasts with Chapman’s longer description of the hero’s degradation:


Too soon her Eyes the killing Object found,

The god-like Hector dragg’d along the ground.

A sudden Darkness shades her swimming Eyes:

She faints, she falls; her Breath, her colour flies. (Pope)


Round she cast her greedy eye, and saw her Hector slain, and bound

T’Achilles chariot, manlessly dragg’d to the Grecian fleet,

Black night strook through her, under her trance took away her feet. (Chapman)

Goethe (1749–1832) argued that every literature must pass through three phases of translation, although as the phases are recurrent all may be found taking place within the same language system at the same time. The first epoch <acquaints us with foreign countries on our own terms>, and Goethe cites Luther’s German Bible as an example of this tendency. The second mode is that of appropriation through substitution and reproduction, where the translator absorbs the sense of a foreign work but reproduces it in his own terms, and here Goethe cites Wieland and the French tradition of translating (a tradition much disparaged by German theorists). The third mode, which he considers the highest, is one which aims for perfect identity between the SL text and the TL text, and the achieving of this mode must be through the creation of a new <manner> which fuses the uniqueness of the original with a new form and structure. Goethe cites the work of Voss, who translated Homer, as an example of a translator who had achieved this prized third level. Goethe is arguing for both a new concept of <originality> in translation, together with a vision of universal deep structures that the translator should strive to meet. The problem with such an approach is that it is moving dangerously close to a theory of untranslatability.”

the translator cannot use the same colours as the original, but is nevertheless required to give his picture <the same force and effect>.”

With the affirmation of individualism came the notion of the freedom of the creative force, making the poet into a quasi-mystical creator, whose function was to produce the poetry that would create anew the universe, as Shelley argued in The Defence of Poesy (1820).”

In England, Coleridge (1772–1834) in his Biographia Literaria (1817) outlined his theory of the distinction between Fancy and Imagination, asserting that Imagination is the supreme creative and organic power, as opposed to the lifeless mechanism of Fancy. This theory has affinities with the theory of the opposition of mechanical and organic form outlined by the German theorist and translator, August Wilhelm Schlegel (1767–1845) in his Vorlesungen über dramatische Kunst und Literatur (1809), translated into English in 1813.” “A.W. Schlegel, asserting that all acts of speaking and writing are acts of translation because the nature of communication is to decode and interpret messages received, also insisted that the form of the original should be retained (for example, he retained Dante’s terza rima in his own translations). Meanwhile, Friedrich Schlegel (1772–1829) conceived of translation as a category of thought rather than as an activity connected only with language or literature.”

The idea of writers at all times being involved in a process of repeating what Blake called <the Divine Body in Every Man> resulted in a vast number of translations, such as the Schlegel-Tieck translations of Shakespeare (1797–1833), Schlegel’s version and Cary’s version of the Divina Commedia (1805–14) and the large intertraffic of translations of critical works and of contemporary writings across the European languages. Indeed, so many texts were translated at this time that were to have a seminal effect on the TL (e.g. German authors into English and vice versa, Scott and Byron into French and Italian, etc.) that critics have found it difficult to distinguish between influence study and translation study proper. Stress on the impact of the translation in the target culture in fact resulted in a shift of interest away from the actual processes of translation.”

If poetry is perceived as a separate entity from language, how can it be translated unless it is assumed that the translator is able to read between the words of the original and hence reproduce the text-behind-the-text; what Mallarmé would later elaborate as the text of silence and spaces?” “with the shift of emphasis away from the formal processes of translation, the notion of untranslatability would lead on to the exaggerated emphasis on technical accuracy and resulting pedantry of later nineteenth-century translating.”

an explanation of the function of peculiarity can be found in G.A. Simcox’s review of Morris’ translation of The Story of the Volsungs and Niblungs (1870) when he declared that the <quaint archaic English of the translation with just the right outlandish flavour> did much to <disguise the inequalities and incompletenesses of the original>”

What emerges from the Schleiermacher—Carlyle—Pre-Raphaelite concept of translation, therefore, is an interesting paradox. On the one hand there is an immense respect, verging on adulation, for the original, but that respect is based on the individual writer’s sureness of its worth. In other words, the translator invites the intellectual, cultivated reader to share what he deems to be an enriching experience, either on moral or aesthetic grounds. Moreover, the original text is perceived as property, as an item of beauty to be added to a collection, with no concessions to the taste or expectations of contemporary life. On the other hand, by producing consciously archaic translations designed to be read by a minority, the translators implicitly reject the ideal of universal literacy. The intellectual reader represented a very small minority in the increasingly diffuse reading public that expanded throughout the century, and hence the foundations were laid for the notion of translation as a minority interest.”

Let not the translator, then, trust to his notions of what the ancient Greeks would have thought of him; he will lose himself in the vague. Let him not trust to what the ordinary English reader thinks of him; he will be taking the blind for his guide. Let him not trust to his own judgement of his own work; he may be misled by individual caprices. Let him ask how his work affects those who both know Greek and can appreciate poetry.” Matthew Arnold [vide polêmica elencada acima]

But although archaizing [afetação, hermetismo] has gone out of fashion, it is important to remember that there were sound theoretical principles for its adoption by translators. George Steiner raises important issues when he discusses the practice, with particular reference to Émile Littré’s theory and his L’Enfer mis en vieux longage François (1879) and to Rudolf Borchardt and his Dante Deutsch:

<The proposition ‘the foreign poet would have produced such and such a text had he been writing in my language’ is a projective fabrication. It underwrites the autonomy, more exactly, the ‘meta-autonomy’ of the translation. But it does much more: it introduces an alternate existence, a ‘might have been’ or ‘is yet to come’ into the substance and historical condition of one’s own language, literature and legacy of sensibility.>

The archaizing principle, then, in an age of social change on an unprecedented scale, can be compared to an attempt to <colonize> the past. (…) The distance between this version of translation and the vision of Cicero and Horace, also the products of an expanding state, could hardly be greater.”

IANQUES, VANGUARDA DO ATRASO: “The increased isolationism of British and American intellectual life, combined with the anti-theoretical developments in literary criticism did not help to further the scientific examination of translation in English. Indeed, it is hard to believe, when considering some of the studies in English, that they were written in the same age that saw the rise of Czech Structuralism and the New Critics, the development of communication theory, the application of linguistics to the study of translation: in short, to the establishment of the bases from which recent work in translation theory has been able to proceed.”

The work of Ezra Pound [Literary Essays] is of immense importance in the history of translation, and Pound’s skill as a translator was matched by his perceptiveness as critic and theorist.”

George Steiner, taking a rather idiosyncratic view of translation history, feels that although there is a profusion of pragmatic accounts by individuals the range of theoretic ideas remains small:

[OS TREZE CAVALEIROS] <List Saint Jerome, Luther, Dryden, Hölderlin, Novalis, Schleiermacher, Nietzsche, Ezra Pound, Valéry, MacKenna, Franz Rosenzweig, Walter Benjamin, Quine—and you have very nearly the sum total of those who have said anything fundamental or new about translation.>


Anne Cluysenaar goes on to analyse C.Day Lewis’ translation of Valéry’s poem, Les pas and comes to the conclusion that the translation does not work because the translator <was working without an adequate theory of literary translation>.” “what is needed is a description of the dominant structure of every individual work to be translated.”

Every literary unit from the individual sentence to the whole order of words can be seen in relation to the concept of system. In particular, we can look at individual works, literary genres, and the whole of literature as related systems, and at literature as a system within the larger system of human culture.” Robert Scholes

Entram num bar: um conteudista, um contextualista, um interesseiro (ou pragmatista) e um deviacionista (selecionador de citações). Qual deles sou eu?

devil acionista

Um concurseiro, um leitor dinâmico, um diletante, um político e um filho de escritor numa roda intelectual-boêmia. Todos falam, mas só o próprio falante se escuta.

The translator is, after all, first a reader and then a writer and in the process of reading he or she must take a position.”

CHOICER”: “The twentieth-century reader’s dislike of the Patient Griselda motif is an example of just such a shift in perception, whilst the disappearance of the epic poem in western European literatures has inevitably led to a change in reading such works.”

suco de palavras

(brincadeira de adultocriança)

the reader/translator will be unable to avoid finding himself in Lotman’s fourth position [aquele que seleciona conteúdos conforme seu interesse humanista-cultural, eu no Seclusão: menos um nazista que cita Nietzsche com propósitos escusos do que alguém que busca simplesmente tirar proveito de algo que possa ainda repercutir num mar de coisas que perderam a referência e o sentido para o homem contemporâneo…] without detailed etymological research. So when Gloucester, in King Lear, Act III sc. vii, bound, tormented and about to have his eyes gouged out, attacks Regan with the phrase <Naughty lady>, it ought to be clear that there has been considerable shift in the weight of the adjective, now used to admonish children or to describe some slightly comic (often sexual) peccadillo.” Danadinha… Perniciosa, insidiosa. Erva daninha!

PIRE(PYRE) COM MODERAÇÃO(FOGO BAIXO): “Quite clearly, the idea of the reader as translator and the enormous freedom this vision bestows must be handled responsibly. The reader/translator who does not acknowledge the dialectical materialist basis of Brecht’s plays or who misses the irony in Shakespeare’s sonnets or who ignores the way in which the doctrine of the transubstantiation is used as a masking device for the production of Vittorini’s anti-Fascist statement in Conversazioni in Sicilia is upsetting the balance of power by treating the original as his own property.”


Catullus, after all, was an aristocrat, whose language, although flexible, is elegant, and Copley’s speaker is a caricature of a teenager from the Johnny [sic – Johnnie] Ray generation. Copley’s choice of register makes the reader respond in a way that downgrades the material itself. The poem is no longer a rather suave and sophisticated mingling of several elements, it is located very precisely in a specific time and context. And, of course, in the relatively short time since the translation appeared, its language and tone have become almost as remote as that of the original!” “The great difference between a text and a metatext is that the one is fixed in time and place, the other is variable. There is only one Divina Commedia but there are innumerable readings and in theory innumerable translations.”

Both English versions appear to stress the I pronoun, because Italian sentence structure is able to dispense with pronouns in verbal phrases. Both opt for the translation make out for distinguo, which alters the English register. The final line of the poem, deliberately longer in the SL version, is rendered longer also in both English versions, but here there is substantial deviation between the two. Version B keeps closely to the original in that it retains the Latinate abandoned as opposed to the Anglo-Saxon adrift in version A. Version B retains the single word infinite, that is spelled out in more detail in version A with infinite space, a device that also adds an element of rhyme to the poem.

The apparent simplicity of the Italian poem, with its clear images and simple structure conceals a deliberate recourse to that process defined by the Russian Formalists as ostranenie, i.e. making strange, or consciously thickening language within the system of the individual work to heighten perception (see Tony Bennet, Formalism and Marxism, London 1979). Seen in this light, version A, whilst pursuing the ‘normalcy’ of Ungaretti’s linguistic structures, loses much of the power of what Ungaretti described as the ‘word-image’. Version B, on the other hand, opts for a higher tone or register, with rhetorical devices of inverted sentence structure and the long, Latinate final line in an attempt to arrive at a ‘thickened’ language by another route.”

The most striking aspect of any comparison of these three sonnets is the range of variation between them. Petrarch’s sonnet splits into octet and sestet and follows the rhyme scheme a b b a/a b b a/c d c/c d c. Wyatt’s poem is similarly divided, but here the rhyme scheme is a b b a/a b b a/c d c/c d d which serves to set the final two lines apart. Surrey’s poem varies much more: a b a b/c d c d/e c e c/f f and consists of three four-line sections building to the final couplet. The significance of these variations in form becomes clear once each sonnet is read closely.”

What can I do, he asks, since my Lord Amor is afeared (and I fear him), except to stay with him to the final hour? and adds, in the last line, that he who dies loving well makes a good end.” “He does not act but is acted upon, and the structure of the poem, with the first person singular verbal form only used at the end, and then only in a question that stresses his helplessness, reinforces this picture.” “But it is not enough to consider this poem in isolation, it must be seen as part of Petrarch’s Canzoniere and linked therefore through language structures, imagery and a central shaping concept, to the other poems in the collection.”

Wyatt creates the image of ‘the hertes forrest’, and by using nouns ‘with payne and cry’, instead of verbs lessens the picture of total, abject humiliation painted by Petrarch.” “The Lover in Wyatt’s poem asks a question that does not so much stress his helplessness as his good intentions and bravery. The Italian temendo il mio signore carries with it an ambiguity (either the Lord fears or the Lover fears the Lord, or, most probably, both) whilst Wyatt has stated very plainly that ‘my master fereth’. The final line, ‘For goode is the liff, ending faithfully’ strengthens the vision of the Lover as noble. Whereas the Petrarchan lover seems to be describing the beauty of death through constant love, Wyatt’s lover stresses the virtues of a good life and a faithful end.” “Love shows his colours and is repulsed and the Lover sets up the alternative ideal of a good life. We are in the world of politics, of the individual geared towards ensuring his survival, a long way from the pre-Reformation world of Petrarch.”

It is in Surrey’s version that the military language prevails, whilst Wyatt reduces the terminology of battle to a terminology of pageantry.” “The Lover is ‘captyve’, and he and Love have often fought. Moreover, the Lady is not in an unreachable position, angered by the display of Love. She is already won and is merely angered by what appears to be excessive ardour.” “Moreover, in the final line of the third quartet, the Lover states plainly that he is ‘fawtless’ and suffers because of ‘my lordes gylt’. The device of splitting the poem into three four-line stanzas can be seen as a way of reshaping the material content. The poem does not build to a question and a final line on the virtues of dying, loving well. It builds instead to a couplet in which the Lover states his determination not to abandon his guilty lord even in the face of death. The voice of the poem and the voice of the Lover are indistinguishable, and the stress on the I, apparent in Wyatt’s poem already, is strengthened by those points in the poem where there is a clear identification with the Lover’s position against the bad behaviour of the false lord Love.

But Wyatt and Surrey’s translations, like Jonson’s Catullus translation, would have been read by their contemporaries through prior knowledge of the original, and those shifts that have been condemned by subsequent generations as taking something away from Petrarch, would have had a very different function in the circles of Wyatt and Surrey’s cultured intellectual readership.” Now nobody reads Petrarch!


“although analysis of narrative has had enormous influence since Shlovsky’s early theory of prose, there are obviously many readers who still adhere to the principle that a novel consists primarily of paraphrasable material content that can be translated straight-forwardly. And whereas there seems to be a common consensus that a prose paraphrase of a poem is judged to be inadequate, there is no such consensus regarding the prose text.”

Belloc points out that the French historic present must be translated into the English narrative tense, which is past, and the French system of defining a proposition by putting it into the form of a rhetorical question cannot be transposed into English where the same system does not apply.”

Let us consider as an example the problem of translating proper names in Russian prose texts, a problem that has bedevilled generations of translators. Cathy Porter’s translation of Alexandra Kollontai’s Love of Worker Bees contains the following note:

Russians have a first (‘Christian’) name, a patronymic and a surname. The customary mode of address is first name plus patronymic, thus, Vasilisa Dementevna, Maria Semenovna. There are more intimate abbreviations of first names which have subtly affectionate, patronizing or friendly overtones. So for instance Vasilisa becomes Vasya, Vasyuk, and Vladimir becomes Volodya, Volodka, Volodechka, Volya.

So in discussing The Brothers Karamazov Uspensky shows how the naming system can indicate multiple points of view, as a character is perceived both by other characters in the novel and from within the narrative. In the translation process, therefore, it is essential for the translator to consider the function of the naming system, rather than the system itself. It is of little use for the English reader to be given multiple variants of a name if he is not made aware of the function of those variants, and since the English naming system is completely different the translator must take this into account and follow Belloc’s dictum to render ‘idiom by idiom’.”


Arguably, the volume of ‘complete plays’ has been produced primarily for a reading public where literalness and linguistic fidelity have been principal criteria. But in trying to formulate any theory of theatre translation, Bogatyrev’s description of linguistic expression must be taken into account, and the linguistic element must be translated bearing in mind its function in theatre discourse as a whole.” Platão seria Teatro?

The leaden pedantry of many English versions of Racine, for example, is apt testimony to the fault of excessive literalness, but the problem of defining ‘freedom’ in a theatre translation is less easy to discern.”

* * *


André Lefevere, Translating Literature: The German Tradition. From Luther to Rosenzweig (Assen and Amsterdam: Van Gorcum, 1977)

Anton Popovič, Dictionary for the Analysis of Literary Translation (Dept. of Comparative Literature, University of Alberta, 1976)

De Beaugrande, Robert, Shunnaq, Abdulla and Heliel, Mohamed H., (eds.), Language, Discourse and Translation in the West and Middle East (Amsterdam: John Bejamins, 1994)

Benjamin Lee Whorf, Language, Thought and Reality (Selected Writings) ed. J.B.Carroll (Cambridge, Mass.: The MIT Press, 1956)

Chan, Sin-Wai, and Pollard, David, (eds), An Encyclopaedia of Translation. Chinese/English, English/Chinese (Hong Kong: Chinese University Press, 1994)

Cicero, ‘Right and Wrong’, in Latin Literature, ed. M.Grant (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1978)

Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Preface to his translations of Early Italian Poets, Poems and Translations, 1850–1870 (London: Oxford University Press, 1968)

Erasmus, Novum Instrumentum (Basle: Froben, 1516). 1529, tr. W. Tindale.

Francis Newman, ‘Homeric Translation in Theory and Practice’ in Essays by Matthew Arnold (London: Oxford University Press, 1914)

Hilaire Belloc, On Translation (Oxford: The Clarendon Press, 1931)

Horace, On the Art of Poetry, in Classical Literary Criticism (Harmondsworth: Penguin Books, 1965)

Jacobsen, Eric, Translation: A Traditional Craft (Copenhagen: Nordisk Forlag, 1958) “This book contains much interesting information about the function of translation within the terms of medieval rhetorical tradition, but, as the author states in the introduction, avoids as far as possible discussion of the general theory and principles of translation.”

Joachim du Bellay – Défense et lllustration de la Langue française

Josephine Balmer, Classical Women Poets (Newcastle upon Tyne: Bloodaxe Books 1997)

Keir Elam, Semiotics of Theatre and Drama (London: Methuen, 1980)

Levý, Jiří, ‘The Translation of Verbal Art’, in L.Matejka and I.R.Titunik (eds), Semiotics of Art (Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press, 1976)

Liu, Lydia H., Translingual Practice: Literature, National Culture and Translated Modernity in China 1900–7937 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1995)

Luis, William and Rodriguez-Luis, Julio, (eds), Translating Latin America. Culture as Text (Binghamton: Centre for Research in Translation: State University of New York at Binghamton, 1991)

Mukherjee, Sujit, Translation as Discovery and Other Essays on Indian Literature in English Translation (New Delhi: Allied Publishers/London: Sangam Books, 1981), 2nd ed. (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1994)

Nirenburg, S. (ed.), Machine Translation: Theoretical and Methodological Issues (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987)

Oittinen, Riita, I am Me—I am Other: On the Dialogics of Translating for Children (Tampere: University of Tampere, 1993)

Rafael, Vicente, Contracting Colonialism: Translation and Christian Conversion in Tagalog Society under Early Spanish Rule (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1988)

Simon, Sherry, Gender in Translation. Cultural Identity and the Politics of Transmission (London: Routledge, 1996)

Somekh, Sasson, ‘The Emergence of two sets of Stylistic Norms in the early Literary Translation into Modern Arabic Prose’, Poetics Today, 2, 4, 1981, pp. 193–200.

Vanderauwera, Ria, Dutch Novels Translated into English: The Transformation of a ‘Minority’ Literature (Amsterdam: Rodolpi, 1985)

Wollin, Hans and Lindquist Hans, (eds), Translation Studies in Scandinavia (Lund: CWK Gleerup, 1986)



Tradução de William Lagos, L&PM, 2006.

Comentários da edição inseridos após trechos das duas obras de Ivan Pinheiro Machado.


ritornelo: “Do italiano ritornello, <estribilho> ou <pequeno retorno>. Passagem musical curta e recorrente no meio de uma composição maior, no caso uma suíte de danças.”


(*) “O Palácio do Louvre transformou-se em museu em 1791, mas sua construção só foi completada sob Napoleão III.

Mas a fonte da bondade fugidia que caracteriza os parisienses se esgotava de imediato. Tão logo o desconhecido percebia ser objeto da atenção de qualquer transeunte, encarava-o com um ar tão feroz que o desocupado mais corajoso apressava o passo como se tivesse pisado em uma serpente.”

As pessoas que desejam intensamente alguma coisa são quase sempre bem atendidas pelo destino.”

Esse costume da vendeta é um preconceito que ainda vai impedir por muito tempo a aplicação das leis na Córsega”

Se você começar a brandir o punhal por estas bandas, não deverá esperar por qualquer misericórdia. Aqui a lei se destina a proteger todos os cidadãos e ninguém tem o direito de fazer justiça por suas próprias mãos.”

(*) “Os Cem Dias: O período entre o retorno de Napoleão da Ilha de Elba (no Meditarrâneo), em março de 1815, e sua abdicação definitiva a 18 de julho daquele ano, quando foi desterrado para a ilha de Santa Helena, no oceano Atlântico, ao largo da África, onde morreu, em 1821.”

As crianças, as mocinhas e os velhos compartilhavam da febre monárquica que dominava o governo.” “Incapaz de renegar sua fé política, até mesmo disposto a proclamá-la, o velho barão de Piombo permanecera em Paris no meio de seus inimigos. A própria Ginevra de Piombo poderia ser perfeitamente colocada na lista das pessoas suspeitas, porque ela não fazia o menor mistério da tristeza que a Segunda Restauração causava a sua família. Talvez as únicas lágrimas que ela havia derramado em sua vida até então lhe houvessem sido arrancadas pela dupla notícia do cativeiro de Bonaparte no Bellérophon e da prisão de Labédoyère.”

Por mesquinha e insignificante que pudesse parecer hoje em dia a iniciativa de Amélie Thirion, era então uma expressão de ódio perfeitamente natural.”

todos os artistas têm um lugar preferido para seu trabalho.”

O único defeito daquela criatura verdadeiramente poética derivava da própria pujança de uma beleza que se desenvolvera tanto: ela era claramente uma mulher. Até então ela se recusara a casar, por amor a seu pai e sua mãe e porque sentia que sua companhia lhes era necessária em sua velhice. Seu gosto pela pintura havia tomado o lugar das emoções que em geral manifestam as mulheres.”

Não existe nada mais mortificante para um bando de moças maldosas, como de resto para todo o mundo, do que perceber que uma picuinha, um insulto ou um gracejo de mau gosto não fizeram o menor efeito sobre a vítima pretendida, que, muito pelo contrário, mostra a maior indiferença. Segundo parece, o ódio contra um inimigo aumenta quanto mais ele demonstra estar acima de nosso rancor.” “os exemplos que ela dera anteriormente sobre sua natureza vingativa e sua firmeza em cobrar sempre uma retribuição por qualquer ofensa já haviam deixado uma impressão profunda no espírito de suas companheiras.”

girodet endymion

Endimião, como fôra representado na obra-prima de Girodet” (*) “Endimião é um personagem mitológico de grande beleza, um pastor por quem Selene, deusa da Lua, apaixonou-se. Ela o contemplava todas as noites enquanto ele dormia. A deusa conseguiu de Zeus a graça de que o rapaz conservasse eternamente sua beleza, ainda que mergulhado em um sono eterno. Anne-Louis Girodet de Roucy, chamado Girodet-Trioson (1767-1824), foi um pintor neoclássico francês.

nada escapa aos olhos aguçados pelo ódio”

Quando alguém se decide a morrer, o melhor é vender sua cabeça ao carrasco.”

a doce piedade que as mulheres encontram em seus corações pelos desgraçados que não trazem em si nada de ignóbil havia obscurecido no coração de Ginevra qualquer outro tipo de afeição; mas escutar um juramento de vingança, descobrir naquele proscrito uma alma italiana, um devotamento por Napoleão, de fato, uma alma de corso? Isso já era demais, e ela contemplou o jovem oficial com uma emoção cheia de respeito, mas que lhe agitava fortemente o coração.”

O Dio! Che non vorrei vivere dopo averla veduta!”

Ó, Deus!… Quem não quereria viver, depois de tê-la visto?…”

(*) “A frase está redigida em italiano, mas, somente na Córsega, existem 14 dialetos, e dificilmente dois corsos conversariam entre si no toscano da Itália central, que originou o italiano moderno.”

Durante um momento bastante curto, ela pareceu estar sonhando, como se estivesse imersa em um pensamento infinito”

O pobre soldado contou seus sofrimentos durante a derrota de Moscou, a forma como ele descobriu, depois da passagem do rio Berezina(*) e com apenas dezenove anos, ser o único sobrevivente de seu regimento, depois de ter visto morrer todos os seus camaradas de armas, os únicos homens que já haviam demonstrado interesse por um órfão.” (*) “Cenário de uma das maiores catástrofes da retirada de Napoleão da Rússia. A ponte sobre o rio Berezina fôra destruída sem conhecimento dos franceses, mas o passo implacável do Grande Exército forçou batalhões inteiros a se precipitarem nas águas geladas do rio, antes que finalmente conseguissem fazer parar as tropas, cujo avanço os empurrava para a morte sem perceber. A vanguarda inteira, composta por dezenas de milhares de soldados, morreu afogada ou congelada nessa ocasião.”

Nesse mesmo dia, ela ficou sabendo que o nome dele era Luigi.” (*) “Balzac chama o personagem alternadamente de <Luigi> e <Louis>, respectivamente, a forma italiana e francesa do mesmo nome.”

Logo Mlle. Roguin, a filha do porteiro do gabinete do rei, começou a achar que era pouco conveniente freqüentar o ateliê de um pintor cujas opiniões traziam uns respingos de patriotismo ou de <bonapartismo>, coisas que, naquela época, pareciam uma só e, desse modo, ela parou de ir às aulas de Servin.” “Um dia, Mathilde Roguin não apareceu mais; na lição seguinte, faltava outra moça; finalmente, 3 ou 4 garotas, que eram as últimas remanescentes freqüentando as aulas, pararam de ir também. Ginevra e mademoiselle Laure, sua amiga, foram durante 2 ou 3 dias de aulas as únicas habitantes do ateliê, agora deserto.”

Se as paixões somente nascem e crescem sob a influência de causas românticas, jamais tantas circunstâncias concorreram para ligar entre si 2 seres pelos laços do mesmo sentimento. A amizade de Ginevra por Louis e de Louis por ela fez assim maiores progressos em um único mês do que uma amizade normal se desenvolve durante dez anos de encontros em salões de festas. Pois não é a adversidade a pedra de toque que forja o caráter?” “Mais velha que Louis, Ginevra encontrou uma grande doçura em ver-se cortejada por um homem já tão grandioso, que já fôra provado tantas vezes pela sorte, mas que juntava ainda à experiência de um homem a graça de um adolescente. Do seu lado, Louis sentia um prazer indescritível em se deixar aparentemente proteger por uma jovem de 25 anos. Não era isso uma prova de amor a mais? A união da doçura com a ferocidade ou da força com a fraqueza demonstrava em Ginevra uma atração irresistível, a um ponto em que Louis sentiu-se inteiramente subjugado por ela.”

– A vida é longa e nos reencontraremos: as jovens acabam se casando… – disse Ginevra.”

Apesar das delicadas missões financeiras que confiavam à sua discrição, que alcançavam grande sucesso e se mostravam muito lucrativas, ele não possuía mais que 30 mil libras de renda em fundos de valores da bolsa. Se fosse comparadas com as grandes fortunas acumuladas sob o Império, caso se recordasse a liberalidade de Napoleão para aqueles de seus fiéis que sabiam pedir, é fácil perceber que o barão de Piombo era um homem de probidade severa.” “Bartholoméo sempre professou um ódio implacável pelos traidores e que se cercara Napoleão, que acreditava poder-lhes conquistar a fidelidade à força de vitória.” “A partir do retorno dos Bourbons, Bartholoméo deixou de usar a condecoração da Legião de Honra. Nunca outro homem ofereceu tão bela imagem dessas velhos republicanos, amigos incorruptíveis do Império, que permaneceram como destroços vivos dos dois governos mais enérgicos que o mundo já conheceu. Se o barão de Piombo desagradava a alguns dos cortesãos, seus amigos eram Daru, Drouot e Carnot.” (*) “Lazare-Nicolas-Marguerite, conde de Carnot (1753-1823), general e matemático francês.” Não se trata do Carnot da termodinâmica, um pouco mais jovem.

O mobiliário do tempo de Louis XIV era perfeitamente adequado a Bartholoméo e sua esposa, personagens dignos da Antiguidade. Sob o Império e durante os Cem Dias, ao exercer funções muito bem remuneradas, o velho corso mantivera muitos criados, mais com o objetivo de fazer honrar seu cargo do que pelo desejo de brilhar. Sua vida e a vida de sua esposa eram tão frugais e tranqüilas que sua modesta fortuna bastava para atender a suas necessidades. Para os dois, sua filha Ginevra valia mais que todas as riquezas do mundo. Desse modo, em maio de 1814, quando o barão de Piombo deixou seu cargo, demitindo igualmente a maior parte de seus criados e fechando as portas de sua estrebaria, Ginevra, simples e sem luxos, tal como seus pais, não sentiu a menor lástima: a exemplo das grandes almas, ela se revestia do luxo que vinha da força dos sentimentos, do mesmo modo que colocava sua felicidade na solidão e no trabalho. Além disso, esses 3 seres se amavam demais uns aos outros para que as coisas exteriores da existência tivessem qualquer valor a seus olhos. Freqüentemente, sobretudo depois da segunda e assustadora queda de Napoleão, Bartholoméo e sua esposa passavam noites deliciosas escutando Ginevra tocar piano ou cantar. Existia para eles um imenso prazer secreto na presença e na menor palavra da filha; eles a seguiam com os olhos, com uma preocupação cheia de ternura, e escutavam seus passos no pátio, por mais silenciosos que fossem. Do mesmo modo que amantes, eles podiam ficar os 3 em silêncio durante horas inteiras, assim escutando melhor a eloqüência de suas almas do que por meio de palavras. Esse sentimento profundo, que era a própria vida dos dois velhos, animava todos os seus pensamentos. Não eram três existências, mas uma única que, semelhante às chamas da lareira, divisava-se em três labaredas de fogo.”

Ginevra jogava-se inteira em qualquer coisa que lhe desse vontade, era tão vingativa e impulsiva como Bartholoméo havia sido em sua juventude.” “Mas, uma vez que esse aprendizado de vingança só podia ser realizado no interior do lar paterno, Ginevra nunca perdoava nada a seu pai, e era inevitável que ele cedesse perante ela.” “era quando se ameaçavam mutuamente que estavam mais perto de se abraçarem aos beijos.” “Ginevra vivia com seu pai e sua mãe um relacionamento de igualdade, o que sempre é funesto. Para terminar o relato de todas as mudanças que ocorreram a esses 3 personagens depois de sua chegada a Paris, Piombo e sua mulher, gente sem instrução, haviam deixado Ginevra estudar segundo sua própria vontade. Deixada ao léu de seus caprichos de mocinha, ela tinha aprendido um pouco de tudo e deixado de lado um pouco de tudo, retomando e abandonando de novo cada intenção uma após a outra, até que a pintura se transformou em sua paixão dominante; ela teria sido perfeita, caso sua mãe tivesse sido capaz de orientar seus estudos, de elucidar e harmonizar os dons que lhe dera a natureza: seus defeitos provinham da funesta educação que o velho corso sentira prazer em lhe transmitir.

(*) “Sra. Shandy: Mãe de Tristram Shandy, personagem fictício do escritor irlandês Laurence Sterne (1713-1768), cuja obra A vida e as opiniões do cavaleiro Tristram Shandy é citada com freqüência por Balzac.”

– Aqui está ela, Ginevra, Ginevrettina, Ginevrina, Ginevrola, Ginevretta, Ginevra bella!…

– Pai, o senhor está me machucando!…”

Os dois velhos ofereciam naquele momento a imagem exata dessas plantas sofredoras e sequiosas a que um pouco de água devolve a vida após um longo período de seca.

– Vamos jantar, vamos jantar!… – exclamou o Barão, oferecendo a mão larga a Ginevra, que chamou de signora Piombellina(*), um outro sintoma de felicidade a que sua filha respondeu com um sorriso.”

(*) “Senhora Chumbinho, trocadilho feito com o sobrenome Piombo, ou <chumbo>. Em italiano no original.”

Você está agindo mal, minha filha: é muito feio amar outro homem além de seu pai…”

Elisa – acrescentou ele, olhando para a esposa, que permanecera imóvel durante todo o tempo –, nós não temos mais filha: ela quer se casar!…”

Se ele te ama tanto quanto você merece ser amada, então vou me matar; mas se ele não te amar assim, então o apunhalarei!…”

– Vou viver por muito mais tempo que você!… Os filhos que não honram seus pais morrem em seguida!… – gritou seu pai, que havia chegado ao último grau da exasperação.

– Razão de sobra então para que eu me case em seguida e seja feliz, nem que seja por pouco tempo!… – gritou ela.”

– Este Noturno é a duas vozes: falta uma voz masculina!…

Ela era italiana, e não é preciso dizer mais nada.”

Era a segunda vez que o pobre oficial saía de seu esconderijo. As solicitações insistentes que Ginevra fizera ao duque de Feltre, na época ministro da Guerra, tinham sido coroadas de pleno sucesso. Louis acabara de ser reintegrado no exército, embora seu nome fosse incluído na relação dos oficiais da Reserva.” “Este homem tão corajoso em face da adversidade, tão bravo no campo de batalha, tremia só de pensar em sua entrada no salão dos Piombo.”

– Mas você está pálido!

– Ah, Ginevra! Pois minha vida inteira não depende disso?…”

– A semelhança do cavalheiro com Nina Porta é impressionante. Você não acha que o cavalheiro traz todos os traços fisionômicos dos Porta?

– Nada de mais natural – respondeu o jovem, sobre quem os olhos chamejantes do velho se fixaram. – Nina era minha irmã…

– Então você é Luigi Porta?… – indagou o velho.

– Sim.”

A EURÍDICE MODERNA: “Luigi Porta, estupefato, olhou para Ginevra, que ficou tão branca como uma estátua de mármore, mantendo os olhos fixos na porta por onde seu pai e sua mãe tinham desaparecido.”

– Meu pai – respondeu ela – nunca me falou de nossa deplorável história, e eu era pequena demais quando saímos da Córsega para saber como foi.

– Nós estaríamos em vendeta, então? – indagou Luigi, tremendo.

– Sim, é verdade. Perguntando a minha mãe, fiquei sabendo que os Porta tinham matado meus irmãos e queimado nossa casa. Em vingança, meu pai massacrou toda a sua família. Como foi que você conseguiu sobreviver? Meu pai pensou que o havia amarrado firmemente às colunas de uma cama, antes de pôr fogo à casa…”

– Vá embora, vá embora, Luigi – gritou Ginevra. – Não, não é possível, tenho de ir com você. Enquanto permanecer dentro da casa de meu pai, não terá nada a temer; mas assim que sair, tenha o maior cuidado!… Você vai sair de um perigo para cair noutro!… Meu pai tem dois empregados corsos e, se não for ele mesmo a ameaçar sua vida, então será um dos dois.”

Horror ao alimento é um dos sintomas que demonstram as grandes crises da alma.”

– Terá de escolher entre ele e nós. Nossa vendeta é parte de nós mesmos. Quem não ajuda em minha vingança, não faz parte de minha família.”

– …tenho um punhal e não sinto o menor temor da justiça dos homens. Nós, os corsos, só damos explicações a Deus.

– Pois eu sou Ginevra di Piombo e declaro que, dentro de 6 meses, serei esposa de Luigi Porta. O senhor não passa de um tirano, meu pai – acrescentou ela, calmamente, depois de uma pausa assustadora.”

Na verdade, o velho sentia-se cruelmente ressentido por aquela ofensa tácita, colhendo naquele instante um dos frutos amargos que a educação dada por ele mesmo à filha produzira. O respeito é uma barreira que protege tanto um pai ou mãe quanto seus filhos, evitando àqueles as tristezas e a estes os remorsos.”

Ceará, a Córsega Tropical

Não era difícil, nem mesmo para ela, adivinhar que jamais poderia gozar inteiramente de uma felicidade que causava tristeza a seus pais. Todavia, tanto em Bartholoméo como em sua filha, todas as irresoluções causadas pela bondade natural de suas almas eram logo afastadas pela ferocidade herdada do rancor particular dos corsos. Sua cólera mútua dava coragem à raiva sentida pelo outro e ambos fechavam os olhos para o futuro. Talvez ambos ainda se iludissem de que um dos dois acabaria por ceder.

Acostumados a fingir um grande interesse pelas pessoas com quem falam, os escrivães acabam por colar ao rosto uma espécie de careta, uma máscara que colocam e retiram como seu pallium(*) oficial.” (*) “Espécie de manto usado pelos magistrados.”

o instrumento público torna nula a resistência paterna… por meio de seu registro… além de que… conforme consta dos requisitos da lei civil… afirma-se que todo homem sensato… após expressar uma última exprobração a seu descendente… deve conceder-lhe liberdade para…”

Uma transformação extraordinária ocorrera na fisionomia de Bartholoméo: todas as suas rugas se haviam aprofundado, o que lhe dava um ar de crueldade indefinível, enquanto ele lançava sobre o notário o olhar de um tigre a ponto de dar o bote.”

– Existem ainda na França leis que destroem o poder paterno? – indagou o corso.”

Nada é mais horrível que o firme controle e o raciocínio legalmente exato dos notários públicos em meio às cenas apaixonadas em que eles estão acostumados a intervir.”

– Fuja, então!… – disse ele. – A mulher de Luigi Porta não poderá mais ser uma Piombo. (…) Minha Ginevra Piombo está enterrada aqui – gritou com voz profunda, apertando o peito à altura do coração.”

A alegria só se pode manifestar plenamente entre pessoas que se sentem iguais. O acaso determinou então que tudo fosse sombrio e grave ao redor dos noivos. Nada refletia a felicidade deles. Nem a igreja, nem a Prefeitura em que se localizava o cartório ficavam muito distantes do hotel. Os dois corsos, seguidos pelas 4 testemunhas que eram exigidas por lei, decidiram ir a pé, em uma simplicidade que despojou de qualquer pompa aquela grande cena da vida social.” “ali estavam, sozinhos no meio da multidão, tal como seria durante a vida que tinham pela frente.” “De um lado, a ostentação grosseira do prazer; do outro, o silêncio delicado das almas felizes: a terra e o céu.”

o mundo lhe reclamava a ausência de seus pais. Era como se a maldição paterna a perseguisse.”

O ódio entre os Porta e o Piombo e suas terríveis paixões foram escritos em uma página do registro de estado civil, assim como, sobre a lápide de um túmulo, são gravadas em poucas linhas os anais de um povo inteiro, muitas vezes em uma única palavra: Robespierre ou Napoleão.”

Os dois jovens corsos, cuja aliança continha toda a poesia atribuída tão genialmente a Romeu e Julieta, atravessaram duas alas de parentes alegres que não somente não tinham o menor interesse por eles, como já quase se impacientavam pelo atraso que lhes impunha aquele casamento aparentemente tão triste. Quando a jovem chegou ao pátio da subprefeitura e enxergou o céu, um suspiro de alívio escapou de seu seio.”

– Por que as pessoas se intrometem entre nós?”

(*) “Na época, os subprefeitos de cada arrondissement de Paris acumulavam as funções de juiz de paz.”

– Estamos começando a vida nos arruinando – disse ela, meio alegre, meio entristecida.

– Lá isso é verdade! Todos os meus soldos atrasados estão investidos aqui – respondeu Luigi. – Vendi o direito de cobrar os atrasados a um homem muito honesto, chamado Gigonnet¹.

– Mas por quê? – retorquiu ela, em um tom de reprovação em que se percebia uma satisfação secreta. – Você acha que eu seria menos feliz num sótão? Seja como for – continuou –, tudo isso é muito bonito e o melhor é que tudo é nosso…”

¹ Este personagem se encontra em outros livros da Comédia humana.

Pois o amor não é como o mar que, visto superficialmente ou às pressas, é acusado de monotonia pelas almas vulgares, enquanto certos entes privilegiados podem passar a vida inteira a admirá-lo, nele encontrando sem cessar fenômenos encantadores em perene mudança?”

Nunca a jovem artista havia pintado algo tão notável como esse auto-retrato.”

Ele também lutava contra concorrentes: o preço pago pelas cópias de escrituras tinha baixado a tal ponto que não lhe sobrava dinheiro para empregar quaisquer auxiliares e sentia-se obrigado a gastar muito mais tempo em seu labor para receber as mesmas somas de antes. Sua mulher tinha completado muitos quadros que não eram destituídos de mérito; mas naquela estação, os comerciantes quase nem compravam as obras de artistas que já gozavam de boa reputação; Ginevra passou a oferecê-los a preço vil e nem assim conseguia vender.”

No momento em que Ginevra se sentia a ponto de chorar por ver o sofrimento de Luigi, ela engolia as lágrimas e o recobria de carinhos. Do mesmo modo, era nos momentos em que Luigi sentia a mais negra desolação dentro de seu peito que expressava o mais terno amor a Ginevra. Eles buscavam uma compensação para seus males na exaltação de seus sentimentos, enquanto suas palavras, suas alegrias, suas brincadeiras se impregnavam de uma espécie de frenesi.”

A majestade da noite é realmente contagiosa, ela se impõe, ela nos inspira; existe alguma coisa muito poderosa na idéia de que, enquanto todos dormem, eu permaneço acordada.”

Luigi teve de tomar dinheiro emprestado para pagar as despesas do parto de Ginevra.”

Luigi a abraçou com um desses beijos desesperados que os amigos trocavam em 1793(*)” (*) “Em 1793, teve início o período do Terror da Revolução Francesa, que, com muitas execuções, durou até 1794, na tentativa de pôr fim à instabilidade política e assegurar a República.”

Minha morte é natural, eu sofria demais; além disso, uma felicidade tão grande como a que nós tivemos deveria ter um preço… Sim, meu Luigi, console-se… Fui tão feliz com você que, se eu recomeçasse a viver, aceitaria outra vez nosso destino. Mas eu sou uma mãe malvada: lastimo muito mais perder você do que perder o nosso filho… Meu filho…”


Era como se uma embriaguez geral tivesse assumido o controle desse império que durou pouco mais de um dia. Todos os comandantes militares, sem exceção de seu chefe supremo, tinham-se transformado em novos-ricos e agiam como tal, gozando os tesouros conquistados por 1 milhão de homens que usavam simples divisas de lã e que se davam por satisfeitos ao serem recompensados com algumas fitas de lã vermelha.”

nessa época, tanto homens como mulheres se atiravam ao prazer com um abandono que parecia anunciar o fim do mundo. É preciso reconhecer que havia uma outra razão para essa libertinagem. A paixão das mulheres pelos militares se havia tornado uma espécie de frenesi e estava tão de acordo com os desejos do próprio imperador que este seria a última pessoa do mundo a tentar impedi-la.”

Assim, os corações tornaram-se tão errantes quanto os regimentos. Uma mulher tornava-se sucessivamente amante, esposa, mãe e viúva entre 5 relatórios de combate do Grande Exército. Seria a perspectiva de uma rápida viuvez, a de uma boa pensão ou a esperança de usar um sobrenome lembrado pela História que tornavam os militares tão sedutores?”

Nunca na história foram lançados tantos fogos de artifício, jamais os diamantes alcançaram tanto valor.” “Talvez fosse a necessidade de transformar os despojos de guerra na forma mais fácil de transportar que deu tanto valor a essas bugigangas entre os integrantes do exército.”

Murat, um homem de atitudes e temperamentos parecidos aos dos orientais, dava o exemplo de um tal luxo, que seria absurdo entre os militares modernos.”

Napoleão teria cumprido sua palavra, se não tivesse ocorrido uma cena desagradável entre ele e Joséphine naquela mesma noite, cena que anunciou o próximo divórcio desses augustos esposos.” (*) “Marie-Josèphe-Rose Tascher de La Pagerie (conhecida como Joséphine, 1763-1814), viscondessa viúva de Beauharnais, que foi guilhotinado em 1794. Em 1796, casou-se com Napoleão, 6 anos mais novo. Ele é quem decide mudar o nome da mulher para Joséphine, e logo após o casamento Napoleão é nomeado comandante da campanha militar na Itália. A vida do casal era conturbada, em parte devido às infidelidades da mulher. Joséphine tinha dois filhos do primeiro casamento, e Napoleão achava que a falta de prole do casal devia-se à sua própria esterilidade, até um dia em que uma camareira da imperatriz deu à luz um filho dele. Então ele se divorciou dela em 1809, com o intuito de formar uma dinastia, mas deixou que ela conservasse o título de imperatriz. Ela morre de pneumonia.”

As mulheres que tinham confiança suficiente na sedução de sua beleza vinham principalmente para experimentar a extensão de seus poderes. Ali, como aliás em toda parte, o prazer era apenas uma máscara.”

– Talvez seja uma viúva cujo marido está jogando bouilotte(*)! – replicou o belo couraceiro.

– É mesmo, agora que a paz foi assinada, muitas mulheres só ficam viúvas desse jeito! – respondeu Martial.”

(*) “Jogo de cartas derivado do pôquer inglês jogado entre 4 e 7 parceiros, embora o mais comum fossem 5.”

Veja só o vigor e a maciez da pele! As narinas mostram tanta juventude como as de uma colegial…”

– …Por que razão uma pessoa tão jovem estaria chorando?

– Ora, meu amigo, as mulheres choram por tão pouco… – disse o coronel.”

Ah, também!… Você está que nem uma panela de leite: vai ferver agora com a menor elevação da temperatura?…”

O senhor não é muito melhor em diplomacia do que eu, se primeiro imagina que essa garota é uma princesa alemã e, logo no instante seguinte, começa a sugerir que não passa de uma dama de companhia…”

Pouco me importa, que diferença faz se ela está nos olhando? Eu sou como o imperador: quando faço minhas conquistas, eu as conservo…”

E você ainda tem a pretensão de se portar como um verdadeiro Lovelace” (*) “Robert Lovelace é um personagem criado por Samuel Richardson (1689-1761) em seu romance Clarissa Harlowe e é citado freqüentemente por Balzac como um sedutor, embora seu nome tenha desaparecido da imaginação popular em favor de Don Juan ou de Casanova.”

– Escute, Martial – recomeçou o coronel-general. – Se você ficar rodopiando ao redor de minha jovem desconhecida, eu vou tentar conquistar madame de Vaudrémont…

– Pois então experimente, meu caro couraceiro, tenho certeza de que não obterá o menor sucesso com ela!… – disse o jovem desembargador”

– …fique sabendo que me desafiar assim é o mesmo que colocar um banquete em frente a Tântalo, porque você sabe muito bem que ele vai devorar tudo o que puder…

– Fffsssss!…”

Conforme a moda da época, era obrigatório que um homem usasse calças de casimira branca que lhe chegavam aos joelhos, completadas por meias de seda. Essa elegante vestimenta chamava a atenção para o físico perfeito de Montcornet, na época cm 35 anos, que atraía todos os olhares por sua elevada estatura, conforme era exigido para todos os couraceiros da Guarda Imperial, cujo belo uniforme realçava ainda mais seu aspecto, ainda jovem, embora tivesse engordado um pouco por andar sempre a cavalo.”

O coronel-general sorriu ao encarar o desembargador, que era um de seus melhores amigos desde o tempo em que haviam freqüentado a escola juntos”

essa eloqüência de salão e essa elegância de maneiras que substitui tão facilmente as qualidades mais duradouras, mas menos visíveis, que são demonstradas pelos homens de verdadeiro valor. Ainda que cheio de juventude e de vivacidade, seu rosto já apresentava o brilho imóvel de um busto de estanho cromado, uma das qualidades indispensáveis aos diplomatas, que lhes permite ocultar todas as suas emoções e disfarçar seus sentimentos, se é que essa impassibilidade já não anuncia neles a ausência de toda emoção e a morte dos sentimentos.” “escondia suas ambições sob a máscara de vaidade de um conquistador bem-sucedido e disfarçava seu talento sob uma aparência de mediocridade, depois de ter percebido claramente a rapidez com que avançavam na carreira justamente aquelas pessoas que faziam menos sombra a seus superiores.”

A maioria das perguntas e respostas desse tipo de conversação leve, característica dos bailes de então, era mais ou menos soprada no ouvido do vizinho por ambos os interlocutores. Não obstante, as girândolas e os archotes que enfeitavam a lareira derramavam uma luz tão clara sobre os dois amigos que seus rostos fortemente iluminados não tinham conseguido esconder, apesar de toda a sua discrição diplomática, a expressão imperceptível de seus sentimentos nem à esperta condessa, nem à cândida desconhecida. Tal habilidade de decifrar os pensamentos talvez seja para os ociosos um dos melhores prazeres que eles encontram na vida em sociedade, enquanto tantos tolos a ela atraídos pela influência das opiniões alheias ficam se aborrecendo durante a festa inteira, sem terem a coragem de confessar seu tédio nem mesmo a si próprios…

Madame de Vaudrémont nunca cometia o erro social de permanecer em uma festa a partir do momento em que as hastes das flores que a enfeitavam poderiam ser vistas meio penduradas, em que os cachos de seu cabelo começariam a se soltar, os enfeites a ficarem amarrotados e, acima de tudo, em que seu rosto começaria a se parecer com o das outras mulheres, a quem o sono começa a convocar imperiosamente, que se esforçam para resistir-lhe um pouco, mas que não conseguem enganá-lo por muito tempo.”

O oficial guardava na manga uma porção de frases irrelevantes, que podiam ser concluídas por um gancho do tipo; <e a senhora, madame, o que acha?>, que já lhe havia sido bastante útil no passado.”

Esta alegria, esta música, estes rostos estúpidos que riem sem motivo estão me assassinando…”

Em todas as festas existem algumas damas, semelhantes a madame de Lansac, iguais a velhos marujos parados à beira do cais, contemplando os jovens marinheiros em luta contra as tempestades.”

As almas que vivem muito e passam rapidamente de uma emoção a outra não sofrem menos que aquelas que se consomem em um único amor.”

A simpatia de madame de Vaudrémont por Martial tinha todos os motivos para crescer e frutificar no futuro, do mesmo modo que sua paixão anterior por Soulanges era um afeto sem esperança, envenenado desde o começo pelos remorsos que aquele sentia.”

o barão logo se entregou aos cálculos mesquinhos que costumam passar pela cabeça dos homens que têm habitualmente sorte com as mulheres: oscilava entre conservar a fortuna que estava ao alcance de sua mão e a satisfação de um capricho.”

Cometer erros aos 22 anos é a mesma coisa que rasgar o vestido que se pretende usar amanhã, vale dizer, comprometer o próprio futuro. Acredite, minha querida, quando aprendemos a maneira mais adequada de usar os trajes que melhor irão favorecer nosso futuro, em geral já é tarde demais.”

Você está pensando em casar-se com esse Martial, que não é nem bobo o suficiente para ser um bom marido, nem está apaixonado o bastante para tornar-se um bom amante… Ele tem dívidas, minha querida, é o tipo de homem capaz de devorar sua fortuna; mas isso não seria nada, caso ele fosse capaz de lhe trazer felicidade. Mas não vê como ele parece velho demais perto de você? No passado, esse homem deve ter sido consumido por muitas doenças e agora só lhe sobrou um restinho de energia. Daqui a 3 anos, vai estar fisicamente acabado. Talvez então se torne mais ambicioso, e é até mesmo possível que obtenha sucesso. (…) Afinal de contas, quem é ele? Não passa de um intrigante da côrte, que pode possuir grande domínio sobre as manobras sociais e até saber conversar muito bem, mas é pretensioso demais para que venha a desenvolver um verdadeiro talento. (…) Não consegue ler na sua testa que ele não vê em você uma mulher jovem e bonita, mas os 2 milhões de francos que você possui? Ele não a ama, minha querida, ele a avalia como se pretendesse fazer um bom negócio. (…) Uma viúva não deve considerar um 2º casamento como uma garotinha apaixonada. Por acaso já viu uma ratazana cair 2x na mesma armadilha? Não, minha cara, um novo contrato matrimonial deve ser para você como um investimento financeiro (…) recomendo encarecidamente que não se dê ao prazer de perturbar a paz conjugal, de destruir a união das famílias, de atrapalhar a felicidade das mulheres bem-casadas. No passado, eu representei muitas vezes este papel perigoso (…) Ai, meu Deus, só pelo prazer de aumentar a minha auto-estima, tantas vezes destruí a felicidade de algumas pobres criaturas virtuosas!… Porque existem, minha querida, realmente existem mulheres virtuosas, cujo ódio mortal é tão fácil de obter!… Um pouco tarde demais, aprendi que, para usar a expressão do duque de Alba, um salmão vale mais do que 1000 sapos!… (…) Antigamente, minha filha, a gente podia até levar um ator para o quarto, mas nunca se convidava essa gente para uma festa!… (…) Veja lá: aquela é minha jovem sobrinha-neta, a condessa de Soulanges, que finalmente aceitou meus freqüentes convites e consentiu em deixar o quarto de sofrimentos em que permanecia até hoje e no qual a visão de seu filhinho lhe trazia um consolo muito débil.”

O duplo quadro que apresentavam a esposa lacrimosa e o marido melancólico e sombrio, separados um do outro no meio da festa, tais como as duas metades do tronco de uma árvore que tivesse sido partida por um raio, despertou no coração da condessa algo que se assemelhava a uma profecia. Cresceu em seu peito o terror das vinganças que a aguardavam no futuro. Seu coração não se havia ainda pervertido o suficiente para que a sensibilidade e a indulgência fossem dele totalmente banidas”

Pode acreditar, minha filha, mulher alguma gosta de receber de volta o coração de seu marido das mãos de outra mulher. Ficará cem vezes mais feliz se acreditar que foi ela mesma quem o reconquistou.”

se o coronel se zangar só porque eu dancei com a esposa dele, depois de ter suportado estòicamente que eu tenha tirado dele a senhora…”

Nessa época, a moda era que as mulheres erguessem a cintura de seus vestidos para colocá-la justamente abaixo dos seios, à imitação das estátuas gregas, um estilo impiedoso para qualquer mulher cujo busto apresentasse o menor defeito.”

Para muitos homens, a dança em sociedade é uma maneira de ser; eles pensam que, ao exibir as habilidades de seu corpo, conseguem influenciar o coração das mulheres com muito mais eficiência que ao tentar seduzi-las pelo espírito.”

Quando as novas regras da contradança, que tinham sido inventadas pelo dançarino Trénis e que receberam por isso o nome de trenita, colocaram Martial frente a frente com o coronel, aquele murmurou sorridente:

– Ganhei seu cavalo…

– Pode ser, mas perdeu 80 mil libras de renda – replicou-lhe o coronel, indicando com a cabeça a sra. de Vaudrémont.

– E que me importa isso?… – sussurrou de volta Martial. – Madame de Soulanges vale milhões…”

Os homens não podiam compreender a sorte que tivera o pequeno desembargador, em cujo aspecto físico aparentemente insignificante não percebiam nada de encantador.”

(*) “Todos os alimentos eram servidos juntos e colocados à disposição dos convidados, com os pratos empilhados de antemão sobre a mesa ou sobre as mesinhas laterais, os buffets, de onde surgiu a expressão atual, <bufê> ou <bifê>.”

– Precisamente – respondeu ela, com um largo sorriso. – Mas meu marido me roubou esse anel, deu para ela, ela o deu de presente a você, ele viajou e agora voltou para mim, foi só isso. Talvez agora este anel me diga umas quantas coisas que ignoro e me ensinará o segredo de agradar sempre a todos… Cavalheiro – continuou ela –, se ele já não fosse meu, tenha certeza de que eu não teria corrido o risco de pagar tão caro por ele, porque, segundo dizem, qualquer jovem corre perigo ao lado do senhor… Olhe só!… – acrescentou, enquanto fazia saltar uma mola e mostrava um pequeno esconderijo por baixo da pedra – Os cabelos do sr. conde de Soulanges [peruca] ainda estão aqui dentro…

Ela saiu pelos salões com tal rapidez que parecia inútil querer alcançá-la. Além disso, Martial tinha ficado tão confuso e humilhado que não sentia a menor disposição para tentar a aventura.”

fôra com incrível repugnância que ela havia consentido no plano arquitetado por sua tia, a duquesa de Lansac, e, naquele momento, tinha grande receio de haver cometido um erro. O baile enchera de tristeza sua alma cândida. Inicialmente, horrorizara-se com o ar sombrio e sofredor do conde de Soulanges, depois se apavorara ainda mais ao ver a beleza de sua rival, ao passo que a visão da sociedade corrupta que a rodeava lhe havia partido o coração. (…) estremeceu mais de uma vez ao pensar como o dever das mulheres que desejam conservar a paz conjugal as obriga a ocultar no fundo do coração, sem proferir uma só queixa, angústias tão profundas como as que sentira.

– Hortense, o que é que você tem no dedo que me machucou tanto os lábios? – perguntou ele, ao mesmo tempo em que ria baixinho.

– Ora, é o meu diamante, que você disse ter perdido e que agora eu achei.”

Julho de 1829”



A Comédia Humana é o título geral que dá unidade à obra máxima de Honoré de Balzac e é composta de 89 romances, novelas e histórias curtas.(*) Este enorme painel do séc. XIX foi ordenado pelo autor em 3 partes: Estudos de costumes, Estudos analíticos e Estudos filosóficos.”

(*) “A idéia de Balzac era que A comédia humana tivesse 137 títulos, segundo seu Catálogo do que conterá A comédia humana, de 1845. Deixou de fora, de sua autoria, apenas Les cent contes drolatiques, vários ensaios e artigos, além de muitas peças ficcionais sob pseudônimo e esboços que não foram concluídos.”

Trata-se de um monumental conjunto de histórias, considerado de forma unânime uma das mais importantes realizações da literatura mundial em todos os tempos. Cerca de 2,5 mil personagens se movimentam pelos vários livros de A comédia humana, ora como protagonistas, ora como coadjuvantes. Genial observador do seu tempo, Balzac soube como ninguém captar o <espírito> do séc. XIX. A França, os franceses e a Restauração têm nele um pintor magnífico e preciso.”

Clássicos absolutos da literatura mundial como Ilusões perdidas, Eugénie Grandet, O lírio do vale, O pai Goriot, Ferragus, Beatriz, A vendeta, Um episódio do terror, A pele de onagro, Mulher de trinta anos, A fisiologia do casamento, entre tantos outros, combinam-se com dezenas de histórias nem tão célebres, mas nem por isso menos deliciosas ou reveladoras. Tido como o inventor do romance moderno, Balzac deu tal dimensão aos seus personagens que já no séc. XIX mereceu do crítico literário e historiador francês Hippolyte Taine a seguinte observação: <Como William Shakespeare, Balzac é o maior repositório de documentos que possuímos sobre a natureza humana>.

Balzac nasceu em Tours em 20 de maio de 1799. Com 19 anos convenceu sua família – de modestos recursos – a sustentá-lo em Paris na tentativa de tornar-se um grande escritor. Obcecado pela idéia da glória literária e da fortuna, foi para a capital francesa em busca de periódicos e editoras que se dispusessem a publicar suas histórias – num momento em que Paris se preparava para a época de ouro do romance-folhetim, fervilhando em meio à proliferação de jornais e revistas. Consciente da necessidade do aprendizado e da sua própria falta de experiência e técnica, começou publicando sob pseudônimos exóticos, como Lord R’hoone e Horace de Saint-Aubin. Escrevia histórias de aventuras, romances policialescos, açucarados, folhetins baratos, qualquer coisa que lhe desse o sustento. Obstinado com seu futuro, evitava usar o seu verdadeiro nome para dar autoria a obras que considerava (e de fato eram) menores. Em 1829, lançou o primeiro livro a ostentar seu nome na capa – A Bretanha em 1800 –, um romance histórico em que tentava seguir o estilo de Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), o grande romancista escocês autor de romances históricos clássicos, como Ivanhoé.“seus delírios de gradeza levaram-no a bolar negócios que vão desde gráficas e revistas até minas de prata. Mas fracassa como homem de negócios. Falido e endividado, reage criando obras-primas para pagar seus credores numa destrutiva jornada de trabalho de até 18h diárias.”

Saudai-me, pois estou seriamente na iminência de tornar-me um gênio.”

Aos 47 anos, massacrado pelo trabalho, pela péssima alimentação e pelo tormento das dívidas que não o abandonaram pela vida inteira, ainda que com projetos e esboços para pelo menos mais 20 romances, já não escrevia mais.”

A imensidão de um projeto que abarca a um só tempo a história e a crítica social, a análise de seus males e a discussão de seus princípios, autoriza-me, creio, a dar a minha obra o título que ela tem hoje: A comédia humana. É ambicioso? É o que, uma vez terminada a obra, o público decidirá.”


Publicada pela 1ª vez em abril de 1830, Vendetta abria a seleção de romances que faziam parte do primeiro volume de Cenas da vida privada, no qual Balzac iniciava seu estudo de costumes que desembocaria na monumental A comédia humana, título que ele concebeu dez anos depois, em 1840, e que unificaria toda a sua obra anterior e futura.”



calembour: jeu de mots

in fiocchi: vestida para a ocasião

lansquenet: jogo de cartas inventado no século XVI (carrega o nome da família inventora)

macédoine: “Quelques personnes ignorent peut−être qu’une m. est un assemblage de plusieurs jeux de hasard, parmi lesquels chaque Coupeur a droit de choisir lorsque c’est à lui à tenir la main. C’est une des inventions du siècle.”

* * *

“Je dois prévenir aussi que j’ai supprimé ou changé tous les noms des personnes dont il est question dans ces Lettres; et que si dans le nombre de ceux que je leur ai substitués, il s’en trouvait qui appartinssent à quelqu’un, ce serait seulement une erreur de ma part et dont il ne faudrait tirer aucune conséquence.”

“On y trouvera aussi la preuve et l’exemple de deux vérités importantes qu’on pourrait croire méconnues, en voyant combien peu elles sont pratiquées: l’une, que toute femme qui consente à recevoir dans sa société un homme sans moeurs, finit par en devenir la victime; l’autre, que toute mère est au moins imprudente, qui souffre qu’un autre qu’elle ait la confiance de sa fille. Les jeunes gens de l’un et de l’autre sexe pourraient encore y apprendre que l’amitié que les personnes de mauvaises moeurs paraissent leur accorder si facilement n’est jamais qu’un piège dangereux, et aussi fatal à leur bonheur qu’à leur vertu. Cependant l’abus, toujours si près du bien, me paraît ici trop à craindre; et, loin de conseiller cette lecture à la jeunesse, il me paraît très important d’éloigner d’elle toutes celles de ce genre. L’époque où celle−ci peut cesser d’être dangereuse et devenir utile me paraît avoir été très bien saisie, pour son sexe, par une bonne mère qui non seulement a de l’esprit, mais qui a du bon esprit. «Je croirais», me disait−elle, après avoir lu le manuscrit de cette Correspondance, «rendre un vrai service à ma fille, en lui donnant ce Livre le jour de son mariage.»”

* * *

“Les prétendus esprits forts ne s’intéresseront point à une femme dévote, que par cela même ils regarderont comme une femmelette [mariquinha], tandis que les dévots se fâcheront de voir succomber la vertu, et se plaindront que la Religion se montre avec trop peu de puissance.”

Para responder a todos talvez seja melhor não responder a ninguém.

“je t’écris à un Secrétaire très joli, dont on m’a remis la clef, et où je peux renfermer tout ce que je veux.” Cecile Volanges

“Paris, ce 3 août 17**”

“(Ces mots roué [pícaro, astuto] et rouerie [picardia, astúcia], dont heureusement la bonne compagnie commence à se défaire, étaient fort en usage à l’époque où ces Lettres ont été écrites)”

“En effet, je gagerais que, malgré les 60.000 livres de rente de la petite Volanges, il n’aurait jamais fait ce mariage, si elle eût été brune, ou si elle n’eût pas été au Couvent. Prouvons−lui donc qu’il n’est qu’un sot: il le sera sans doute un jour” Marquise de Merteuil, a vilã da estória

“elle est vraiment jolie; cela n’a que 15 ans, c’est le bouton de rose; gauche, à la vérité, comme on ne l’est point, et nullement maniérée: mais, vous autres hommes, vous ne craignez pas cela; de plus, un certain regard langoureux qui promet beaucoup en vérité: ajoutez−y que je vous la recommande; vous n’avez plus qu’à me remercier et m’obéir.”

“il doit être bien difficile de ne pas rougir quand un homme vous regarde fixement.” C.V.

Ce qui m’inquiétait le plus était de ne pas savoir ce qu’on pensait sur mon compte. Je crois avoir entendu pourtant deux ou trois fois le mot de jolie: mais j’ai entendu bien distinctement celui de gauche; et il faut que cela soit bien vrai, car la femme qui le disait est parente et amie de ma mère; elle paraît même avoir pris tout de suite de l’amitié pour moi. C’est la seule personne qui m’ait un peu parlé dans la soirée.”

Je t’assure que le monde n’est pas aussi amusant que nous l’imaginions.”

“Você faria adorarem o despotismo.”

“si ce Dieu−là nous jugeait sur nos Oeuvres, vous seriez un jour la Patronne de quelque grande ville, tandis que votre ami serait au plus un Saint de village.” Vicomte de Valmont

“Que me proposez−vous? de séduire une jeune fille qui n’a rien vu, ne connaît rien; qui, pour ainsi dire, me serait livrée sans défense; qu’un premier hommage ne manquera pas d’enivrer et que la curiosité mènera peut−être plus vite que l’Amour. Vingt autres peuvent y réussir comme moi.”

Et si de l’obtenir je n’emporte le prix, J’aurai du moins l’honneur de l’avoir entrepris.

On peut citer de mauvais vers, quand ils sont d’un grand Poète (La Fontaine).”

“Une messe chaque jour, quelques visites aux Pauvres du canton, des prières du matin et du soir, des promenades solitaires, de pieux entretiens avec ma vieille tante, et quelquefois un triste Wisk, devaient être ses seules distractions. Je lui en prépare de plus efficaces.”

“Vous, avoir la Présidente Tourvel! mais quel ridicule caprice! Je reconnais bien là votre mauvaise tête qui ne sait désirer que ce qu’elle croit ne pas pouvoir obtenir.

“Estar com uma puritana? digo de boa fé: reservadas ao seio mesmo do prazer, elas não vos oferecem mais do que semi-gozos.”

“quando uma mulher fica atrofiada desse jeito, se a deve abandonar a sua própria sorte; não passará jamais de um exemplar da espécie.”

“Ele me chamaria de pérfida, e essa palavra pérfida sempre me agradou; é, depois de cruel, a mais doce aos ouvidos de uma mulher, e é menos sacrificante obtê-la.”

“Ne savez−vous pas que la seule volupté a le droit de détacher le bandeau de l’Amour?” Valmont

Non, sans doute, elle n’a point, comme nos femmes coquettes, ce regard menteur qui séduit quelquefois et nous trompe toujours. Elle ne sait pas couvrir le vide d’une phrase par un sourire étudié; et quoiqu’elle ait les plus belles dents du monde, elle ne rit que de ce qui l’amuse. Mais il faut voir comme, dans les folâtres jeux [jogos de conquista, paqueras com os olhos, flertes pelo olhar], elle offre l’image d’une gaieté naïve et franche!”

“Elle est prude et dévote, et de là vous la jugez froide et inanimée?”

As crentes crêem que o abismo as engole

Ah, que divino esse abismo

Me absorva toda, salive em cada poro

Me chupe e me cuspa,

Meu espírito




As crentes têm medo de cair no abismo

De sucumbir às tentações



Que revelariam um temperamento


As crentes têm medo da mancha

Tudo que elas abominam é o buraco

preto, fundo

Tudo que elas querem é fechar os buracos

Preencher tudo para que não entre nada

Tudo que a devota quer

é que toda a carne pecadora escave com um hediondo esforço

Violento ato

sem consentimento

Rompa-me pelas minhas frestas morais

Me corrija

Com a vara e o chicote da supremacia

Com ternura, no entanto


Meu negro

Meu buraco

Meu proibido pomar

De onde nascem todos os males

Não vá

mais devagar

Por mais que eu peça!

Ai, que coceira!

Meninas não mentem

E apesar do meu peito crescido

Sou uma menininha…

Hm, gostaria de elevá-la tanto quanto os Dez Mandamentos

elevam a alma do Hebreu Casto

Que comigo ela fornique

para se esquecer do mal que é


“Madame de Tourvel me devolveu as charmosas ilusões da juventude.”

Cuidado para ao tentar me converter

você não me tentar no lugar

e aí vai me ter

Eu vou rezar pra que tudo dê certo pra você

eu vou rezar pra me foder

“J’étudie beaucoup mon chant et ma harpe; il me semble que je les aime mieux depuis que je n’ai plus de Maîtres, ou plutôt c’est que j’en ai un meilleur. M. le Chevalier Danceny, ce Monsieur dont je t’ai parlé, et avec qui j’ai chanté chez Madame de Merteuil, a la complaisance de venir ici tous les jours, et de chanter avec moi des heures entières. Il est extrêmement aimable. Il chante comme un Ange, et compose de très jolis airs dont il fait aussi les paroles. C’est bien dommage qu’il soit Chevalier de Malte! Il me semble que s’il se mariait, sa femme serait bien heureuse. Il a une douceur charmante. Il n’a jamais l’air de faire un compliment, et pourtant tout ce qu’il dit flatte. Il me reprend sans cesse, tant sur la musique que sur autre chose: mais il mêle à ses critiques tant d’intérêt et de gaieté, qu’il est impossible de ne pas lui en savoir gré. Seulement quand il vous regarde, il a l’air de vous dire quelque chose d’obligeant. (…) Lui et Madame de Merteuil sont les deux seules personnes que je trouve aimables.

O mal dos jovens de ‘oi’ dia é que eles estudam demais, e não o contrário, como os entendidos dirão na televisão. Seus miolos fritam como boas omeletes numa frigideira nova e besuntada. Até o humo sobe no ar e todos sentem no recinto.

* * *

A devota se comunica com a ninfa

São vasos comunicantes

Bolsas, canais


Onde era para haver carne e volume

Sim, é verdade que muitos têm vento na cabeça

De tantos hormônios,

Mas as mulheres têm sem dúvida vento no sexo

“Vous me parlez de sa rare candeur: oh! oui; la candeur de Valmont doit être en effet très rare.” <RÉ:> de Madame de Volanges, a mãe da ninfa da estória

“jamais depuis sa plus grande jeunesse, il n’a fait un pas ou dit une parole sans avoir un projet, et jamais il n’eut un projet qui ne fût malhonnête ou criminel.”

“Le Comte de Gercourt, que nous attendions d’un jour à l’autre, me mande que son Régiment passe en Corse; et comme il y a encore des mouvements de guerre, il lui sera impossible de s’absenter avant l’hiver.”

pour qu’elle finisse par se donner, le vrai moyen est de commencer par la prendre. Que cette

ridicule distinction est bien un vrai déraisonnement de l’Amour! (…) Dites−moi donc, amant langoureux, ces femmes que vous avez eues, croyez−vous les avoir violées? Mais, quelque envie qu’on ait de se donner, quelque pressée que l’on en soit, encore faut−il un prétexte; et y en a−t−il de plus commode pour nous, que celui qui nous donne l’air de céder à la force?”

“nos deux passions favorites, la gloire de la défense et le plaisir de la défaite.”

“Il ne faut se permettre d’excès qu’avec les gens qu’on veut quitter bientôt. Il ne sait pas cela, lui; mais, pour son bonheur, je le sais pour deux.”

“Jamais il n’oblige à cette réserve, dans laquelle toute femme qui se respecte est forcée de se tenir aujourd’hui, pour contenir les hommes qui l’entourent.” La Presidente de Tourvel

celui qui est capable d’une amitié aussi suivie pour une femme aussi estimable, n’est pas un libertin sans retour.”

Je crois que la Mère Perpétue a raison, et qu’on devient coquette dès qu’on est dans le monde.” Cecile

Madame de Merteuil, par exemple, je vois bien que tous les hommes la trouvent plus Jolie que moi: cela ne me fâche pas beaucoup, parce qu’elle m’aime bien; et puis elle assure que le Chevalier Danceny me trouve plus jolie qu’elle. C’est bien honnête à elle de me l’avoir dit! elle avait même l’air d’en être bien aise.”

Que me parlez−vous d’éternelle rupture? J’abjure ce serment, prononcé dans le délire: nous n’aurions pas été dignes de le faire, si nous eussions dû le garder. Ah! que je puisse un jour me venger dans vos bras, du dépit involontaire que m’a causé le bonheur du Chevalier!” Valmont

“Vous le croyez dans vos chaînes! C’est bien vous qui êtes dans les siennes. Il dort tranquillement, tandis que vous veillez pour ses plaisirs. Que ferait de plus son esclave?”

“ma belle amie, tant que vous vous partagez entre plusieurs, je n’ai pas la moindre jalousie: je ne vois alors dans vos Amants que les successeurs d’Alexandre, incapables de conserver entre eux tous cet empire où je régnais seul. Mais que vous vous donniez entièrement à un d’eux! qu’il existe un autre homme aussi heureux que moi!”

“Aussitôt que vous aurez eu votre belle Dévote, que vous pourrez m’en fournir une preuve, venez, et je suis à vous. Mais vous n’ignorez pas que dans les affaires importantes, on ne reçoit de preuves que par écrit. Par cet arrangement, d’une part, je deviendrai une récompense au lieu d’être une consolation; et cette idée me plaît davantage: de l’autre votre succès en sera plus piquant, en devenant lui−même un moyen d’infidélité. Venez donc, venez au plus tôt m’apporter le gage de votre triomphe” Merteuil

“J’ai été étonné du plaisir qu’on éprouve en faisant le bien; et je serais tenté de croire que ce que nous appelons les gens vertueux n’ont pas tant de mérite qu’on se plaît à nous le dire. Quoi qu’il en soit, j’ai trouvé juste de payer à ces pauvres gens le plaisir qu’ils venaient de me faire.” Valmont

“M. de Valmont n’est peut−être qu’un exemple de plus du danger des liaisons.” Presidente de Tourvel

“mais qui pourrait arrêter une femme qui fait, sans s’en douter, l’éloge de ce qu’elle aime?” Valmont

“obscurité douce, qui enhardit l’Amour timide.” “doce nevoeiro e turbidez, que fortalecem o amor tímido.”

“J’y gagnai de plus de considérer à loisir cette charmante figure, embellie encore par l’attrait puissant des larmes. Ma tête s’échauffait, et j’étais si peu maître de moi, que je fus tenté de profiter de ce moment.” lágrimas de bucetilo

De …, ce 21 août 17**, 4 heures du matin.”

Madame de Rosemonde [titia pudica] m’engagea à lui tâter le pouls, en vantant beaucoup mes connaissances en médecine. Ma Belle eut donc le double chagrin d’être obligée de me livrer son bras, et de sentir que son petit mensonge allait être découvert.”

“Jamais, je le sens, je ne retrouverai le bonheur que je perds aujourd’hui; vous seule étiez faite

pour mon coeur; avec quel plaisir je ferais le serment de ne vivre que pour vous.” Chevalier Danceny

“elle exige seulement que je lui fasse voir toutes mes Lettres et toutes celles du Chevalier Danceny, afin d’être sûre que je ne dirai que ce qu’il faudra; ainsi, à présent, me voilà tranquille. Mon Dieu, que je l’aime Madame de Merteuil! elle est si bonne! et c’est une femme bien respectable.” Ceci-ilha n’est pas une dévote

“Madame de Merteuil m’a dit aussi qu’elle me prêterait des Livres qui parlaient de tout cela, et qui m’apprendraient bien à me conduire, et aussi à mieux écrire que je ne fais: car, vois−tu, elle me dit tous mes défauts, ce qui est une preuve qu’elle m’aime bien; elle m’a recommandé seulement de ne rien dire à Maman de ces Livres−là parce que çà aurait l’air de trouver qu’elle a trop négligé mon éducation, et ça pourrait la fâcher. Oh! je ne lui en dirai rien.

C’est pourtant bien extraordinaire qu’une femme qui ne m’est presque pas parente prenne plus de soin de moi que ma mère! c’est bien heureux pour moi de l’avoir connue!”

“à présent que vous savez que je vous aime, j’espère que vous resterez avec moi le plus que vous pourrez; car je ne suis contente que lorsque je suis avec vous, et je voudrais bien que vous fussiez tout de même.”

Le scélérat a ses vertus, comme l’honnête homme a ses faiblesses.” Madame de Volanges

Quand il ne serait, comme vous le dites, qu’un exemple du danger des liaisons, en serait−il moins lui−même une liaison dangereuse? Vous le supposez susceptible d’un retour heureux? allons plus loin; supposons ce miracle arrivé. Ne resterait−il pas contre lui l’opinion publique, et ne suffit−elle pas pour régler votre conduite? Dieu seul peut absoudre au moment du repentir; il lit dans les coeurs: mais les hommes ne peuvent juger les pensées que par les actions; et nul d’entre eux, après avoir perdu l’estime des autres, n’a droit de se plaindre de la méfiance nécessaire, qui rend cette perte si difficile à réparer.”

“Sans doute, je reçois M. de Valmont, et il est reçu partout; c’est une inconséquence de plus à ajouter à mille autres qui gouvernent la société. Vous savez, comme moi, qu’on passe sa vie à les remarquer, à s’en plaindre et à s’y livrer. M. de Valmont, avec un beau nom, une grande fortune, beaucoup de qualités aimables, a reconnu de bonne heure que pour avoir l’empire dans la société, il suffisait de manier, avec une égale adresse, la louange et le ridicule. Nul ne possède comme lui ce double talent: il séduit avec l’un, et se fait craindre avec l’autre. On ne l’estime pas; mais on le flatte. Telle est son existence au milieu d’un monde qui, plus prudent que courageux, aime mieux le ménager que le combattre.

une occasion manquée se retrouve, tandis qu’on ne revient jamais d’une démarche précipitée.” Merteuil

Quand vos belles phrases produiraient l’ivresse de l’Amour, vous flattez−vous qu’elle soit assez longue pour que la réflexion n’ait pas le temps d’en empêcher l’aveu?” “Cette marche peut réussir avec des enfants, qui, quand ils écrivent «je vous aime», ne savent pas qu’ils disent «je me rends».”

C’est le défaut des Romans; l’Auteur se bat les flancs pour s’échauffer, et le Lecteur reste froid. Héloïse est le seul qu’on en puisse excepter; et malgré le talent de l’Auteur, cette observation m’a toujours fait croire que le fond en était vrai. Il n’en est pas de même en parlant. L’habitude de travailler son organe y donne de la sensibilité; la facilité des larmes y ajoute encore: l’expression du désir se confond dans les yeux avec celle de la tendresse; enfin le discours moins suivi amène plus aisément cet air de trouble et de désordre, qui est la véritable éloquence de l’Amour; et surtout la présence de l’objet aimé empêche la réflexion et nous fait désirer d’être vaincues.

sans la longueur de sa Lettre, et le prétexte qu’elle vous donne pour rentrer en matière dans sa phrase de reconnaissance, elle ne se serait pas du tout trahie.”

“S’il était moins tard, je vous parlerais de la petite Volanges qui avance assez vite et dont je suis fort contente. Je crois que j’aurai fini avant vous, et vous devez en être bien heureux.”

Pour aller vite en amour, il vaut mieux parler qu’écrire” Valmont

“Si vous voulez être au courant de ma correspondance, il faut vous accoutumer à déchiffrer mes minutes: car pour rien au monde, je ne dévorerais l’ennui de les recopier.”

On ne condamne point un coupable sans lui dire son crime, sans lui nommer ses accusateurs.”

Je lui ai permis d’écrire et de dire j’aime; et le jour même, sans qu’elle s’en doutât, je lui ai ménagé un tête−à−tête avec son Danceny. Mais figurez−vous qu’il est si sot encore, qu’il n’en a seulement pas obtenu un baiser. Ce garçon−là fait pourtant de fort jolis vers! Mon Dieu! que ces gens d’esprit sont bêtes! celui−ci l’est au point qu’il m’en embarrasse” Merteuil

“C’est M. le Comte de Gercourt que je dois épouser, et ce doit être au mois d’Octobre. Il est riche, il est homme de qualité, il est Colonel du régiment de […]. Jusque−là tout va fort bien. Mais d’abord il est vieux: figure−toi qu’il a au moins 36 ans! et puis, Madame de Merteuil dit qu’il est triste et sévère, et qu’elle craint que je ne sois pas heureuse avec lui. J’ai même bien vu qu’elle en était sûre, et qu’elle ne voulait pas me le dire, pour ne pas m’affliger. Elle ne m’a presque entretenue toute la soirée que des devoirs des femmes envers leurs maris. Elle convient que M. de Gercourt n’est pas aimable du tout, et elle dit pourtant qu’il faudra que je l’aime. Ne m’a−t−elle pas dit aussi qu’une fois mariée, je ne devais plus aimer le Chevalier Danceny? comme si c’était possible! Oh! je t’assure bien que je l’aimerai toujours. Vois−tu, j’aimerais mieux, plutôt, ne pas me marier. (…) Si je n’avais pas peur de rentrer au Couvent, je dirais bien à Maman que je ne veux pas de ce mari−là; mais ce serait encore pis. Je suis bien embarrassée. Je sens que je n’ai jamais tant aimé M. Danceny qu’à présent; et quand je songe qu’il ne me reste plus qu’un mois à être comme je suis, les larmes me viennent aux yeux tout de suite; je n’ai de consolation que dans l’amitié de Madame de Merteuil; elle a si bon coeur! elle partage tous mes chagrins comme moi−même; et puis ele est si aimable que, quand je suis avec elle, je n’y songe presque plus. D’ailleurs elle m’est bien utile; car le peu que je sais, c’est elle qui me l’a appris: et elle est si bonne, que je lui dis tout ce que je pense, sans être honteuse du tout. Quand elle trouve que ce n’est pas bien, elle me gronde quelquefois; mais c’est tout doucement, et puis je l’embrasse de tout mon coeur, jusqu’à ce qu’elle ne soit plus fâchée.”

(On continue à supprimer les Lettres de Cécile Volanges et du Chevalier Danceny, qui sont peu intéressantes et n’annoncent aucun événement)”

“l’autorité illusoire que nous avons l’air de laisser prendre aux femmes est un des pièges qu’elles évitent le plus difficilement.”

A autoridade ilusória que nós deixamos as fêmeas se darem é uma armadilha de que elas só a muito custo conseguem se desbaratar.

on écrit des volumes et l’on explique mal ce qu’un quart d’heure de conversation suffit pour faire bien entendre.” “quoique dévote, elle est peu charitable”

quelle femme pourrait avouer être en correspondance avec vous? et quelle femme honnête peut se déterminer à faire ce qu’elle sent qu’elle serait obligée de cacher?”

j’ai dévoilé un double mystère d’amour et d’iniquité: je jouirai de l’un, je me vengerai de l’autre; je volerai de plaisirs en plaisirs.”

“coucher avec une fille, ce n’est que lui faire faire ce qui lui plaît: de là à lui faire faire ce que nous voulons, il y a souvent bien loin.”

Transar com uma mulher não é nada senão atender suas vontades: daí a fazê-la atender as nossas vai uma grande diferença.

“Ah! sans doute il faut séduire sa fille: mais ce n’est pas assez, il faut la perdre; et puisque l’âge de cette maudite femme la met à l’abri de mes coups, il faut la frapper dans l’objet de ses affections.” “Elle veut donc que je revienne à Paris! elle m’y force! soit, j’y retournerai, mais elle gémira de mon retour. Je suis fâché que Danceny soit le héros de cette aventure, il a un fond d’honnêteté qui nous gênera: cependant il est amoureux, et je le vois souvent; on pourra peut−être en tirer parti.”

“Cette complaisance de ma part est le prix de celle qu’elle vient d’avoir, de me servir de pupitre [escrivaninha] pour écrire à ma belle Dévote, à qui j’ai trouvé plaisant d’envoyer une Lettre écrite du lit et presque d’entre les bras d’une fille, interrompue même pour une infidélité complète, et dans laquelle je lui rends un compte exact de ma situation et de ma conduite. Emilie, qui a lu l’Epître, en a ri comme une folle, et j’espère que vous en rirez aussi.

“C’est après une nuit orageuse, et pendant laquelle je n’ai pas fermé l’oeil; c’est après avoir été sans cesse ou dans l’agitation d’une ardeur dévorante, ou dans l’entier anéantissement de toutes les facultés de mon âme, que je viens chercher auprès de vous, Madame, un calme dont j’ai besoin, et dont pourtant je n’espère pas jouir encore. En effet, la situation où je suis en vous écrivant me fait connaître plus que jamais la puissance irrésistible de l’Amour; j’ai peine à conserver assez d’empire sur moi pour mettre quelque ordre dans mes idées; et déjà je prévois que je ne finirai pas cette Lettre sans être obligé de l’interrompre. Quoi! ne puis−je donc espérer que vous partagerez quelque jour le trouble que j’éprouve en ce moment? J’ose croire cependant que, si vous le connaissiez bien, vous n’y seriez pas entièrement insensible. Croyez−moi, Madame, la froide tranquillité, le sommeil de l’âme, image de la mort, ne mènent point au bonheur; les passions actives peuvent seules y conduire; et malgré les tourments que vous me faites éprouver, je crois pouvoir assurer sans crainte, que, dans ce moment, je suis plus heureux que vous. En vain m’accablez−vous de vos rigueurs désolantes, elles ne m’empêchent point de m’abandonner entièrement à l’Amour et d’oublier, dans le délire qu’il me cause, le désespoir auquel vous me livrez. C’est ainsi que je veux me venger de l’exil auquel vous me condamnez. Jamais je n’eus tant de plaisir en vous écrivant; jamais je ne ressentis, dans cette occupation, une émotion si douce et cependant si vive. Tout semble augmenter mes transports: l’air que je respire est plein de volupté; la table même sur laquelle je vous écris, consacrée pour la première fois à cet usage, devient pour moi l’autel sacré de l’Amour; combien elle va s’embellir à mes yeux! j’aurai tracé sur elle le serment de vous aimer toujours! Pardonnez, je vous en supplie, au désordre de mes sens. Je devrais peut−être m’abandonner moins à des transports que vous ne partagez pas: il faut vous quitter un moment pour dissiper une ivresse qui s’augmente à chaque instant, et qui devient plus forte que moi.

Si je me retrace encore les plaisirs de l’Amour, c’est pour sentir plus vivement le regret d’en être privé. Je ne me vois de ressource que dans votre indulgence, et je sens trop, dans ce moment, combien j’en ai besoin pour espérer de l’obtenir. Cependant, jamais mon amour ne fut plus respectueux, jamais il ne dut moins vous offenser; il est tel, j’ose le dire, que la vertu la plus sévère ne devrait pas le craindre: mais je crains moi−même de vous entretenir plus longtemps de la peine que j’éprouve. Assuré que l’objet qui la cause ne la partage pas, il ne faut pas au moins abuser de ses bontés; et ce serait le faire, que d’employer plus de temps à vous retracer cette douloureuse image.”

“Vous−même, chez qui l’habitude de ce délire dangereux doit en diminuer l’effet, n’êtes−vous pas cependant obligé de convenir qu’il devient souvent plus fort que vous, et n’êtes−vous pas le premier à vous plaindre du trouble involontaire qu’il vous cause? Quel ravage effrayant ne ferait−il donc pas sur un Coeur neuf et sensible, qui ajouterait encore à son empire par la grandeur des sacrifices qu’il serait obligé de lui faire?”

“Je n’ai pas la vanité qu’on reproche à mon sexe; j’ai encore moins cette fausse modestie qui n’est qu’un raffinement de l’orgueil”

“Vous me traitez avec autant de légèreté que si j’étais votre Maîtresse.”

il ne faut pas fâcher les vieilles femmes; ce sont elles qui font la réputation des jeunes.”

“La petite fille a été à confesse; elle a tout dit, comme un enfant; et depuis, elle est tourmentée à un tel point de la peur du diable, qu’elle veut rompre absolument. Elle m’a raconté tous ses petits scrupules, avec une vivacité qui m’apprenait assez combien sa tête était montée. Elle m’a montré sa Lettre de rupture, qui est une vraie capucinade [moralismo oco]. Elle a babillé une heure avec moi, sans me dire un mot qui ait le sens commun. Mais elle ne m’en a pas moins embarrassée”

Tourmentée par le désir de s’occuper de son Amant, et par la crainte de se damner en s’en occupant, ele a imaginé de prier Dieu de le lui faire oublier; et comme elle renouvelle cette prière à chaque instant du jour, elle trouve le moyen d’y penser sans cesse.”

“la vraie façon de vaincre les scrupules est de ne laisser rien à perdre à ceux qui en ont.”

“Il serait honteux que nous ne fissions pas ce que nous voulons de deux enfants. Si nous y trouvons plus de peine que nous ne l’avions cru d’abord, songeons, pour animer notre zèle, vous, qu’il s’agit de la fille de Madame de Volanges, et moi, qu’elle doit devenir la femme de Gercourt.”

“Je ne connais personne si bête en amour, et je me reproche de plus en plus les bontés que nous avons pour lui. Savez−vous que j’ai pensé être compromise par rapport à lui! et que ce soit en pure perte! Oh! je m’en vengerai, je le promets.

Elle est vraiment aimable, cette chère petite! Elle méritait un autre Amant; elle aura au moins une bonne amie, car je m’attache sincèrement à elle. Je lui ai promis de la former et je crois que je lui tiendrai parole. Je me suis souvent aperçue du besoin d’avoir une femme dans ma confidence, et j’aimerais mieux celle−là qu’une autre”

“Nos amusements, nos rires, tout cela, vois−tu, ce ne sont que des jeux d’enfants; il n’en reste rien après qu’ils sont passés. Mais l’Amour, ah! l’Amour! un mot, un regard, seulement de le savoir là, eh bien! c’est le bonheur. Quand je vois Danceny, je ne désire plus rien; quand je ne le vois pas, je ne désire que lui. C’est comme un tourment, et ce tourment−là fait un plaisir inexprimable.”

“Je crois même que quand une fois on a de l’Amour, cela se répand jusque sur l’amitié. Celle que j’ai pour toi n’a pourtant pas changé; c’est toujours comme au Couvent: mais ce que je te dis, je l’éprouve avec Madame de Merteuil. Il me semble que je l’aime plus comme Danceny que comme toi, et quelquefois je voudrais qu’elle fût lui. Cela vient peut−être de ce que ce n’est pas une amitié d’enfant comme la nôtre; ou bien de ce que je les vois si souvent ensemble, ce qui fait que je me trompe. Enfin, ce qu’il y a de vrai, c’est qu’à eux deux, ils me rendent bien heureuse”

“Cessez donc, je vous en conjure, cessez de vouloir troubler un coeur à qui la tranquillité est si nécessaire; ne me forcez pas à regretter de vous avoir connu.”

“Comme vous traitez les femmes que vous avez séduites! avec quel mépris vous en parlez! Je veux croire que quelques−unes le méritent: mais toutes sont−elles donc si méprisables? Ah! sans doute, puisqu’elles ont trahi leurs devoirs pour se livrer à un amour criminel. De ce moment, elles ont tout perdu, jusqu’à l’estime de celui à qui elles ont tout sacrifié. Ce supplice est juste, mais l’idée seule en fait frémir.”

“Je lui ai tant dit que l’Amour honnête était le bien suprême, qu’un sentiment valait mieux que dix intrigues, que j’étais moi−même, dans ce moment, amoureux et timide”

Un Sage a dit que pour dissiper ses craintes il suffisait presque toujours d’en approfondir la cause.”

Les complaintes amoureuses ne sont bonnes à entendre qu’en récitatifs obligés, ou en grandes ariettes. Instruisez−moi donc de ce qui est et de ce que je dois faire; ou bien je déserte, pour éviter l’ennui que je prévois.”

“Après avoir abusé, Monsieur, de la confiance d’une mère et de l’innocence d’un enfant, vous ne serez pas surpris, sans doute, de ne plus être reçu dans une maison où vous n’avez répondu aux preuves de l’amitié la plus sincère, que par l’oubli de tous les procédés. Je préfère de vous prier de ne plus venir chez moi, à donner des ordres à ma porte, qui nous compromettraient tous également, par les remarques que les Valets ne manqueraient pas de faire.” Madame de Volanges

“L’événement qui le lui a fait écrire est mon ouvrage, et c’est, je crois, mon chef−d’oeuvre. Je n’ai pas perdu mon temps depuis votre dernière lettre, et j’ai dit comme l’Architecte Athénien: «Ce qu’il a dit, je le ferai.»” Merteuil

“J’allai le soir même chez Madame de Volanges, et, suivant mon projet, je lui fis confidence que je me croyais sûre qu’il existait entre sa fille et Danceny une liaison dangereuse. Cette femme, si clairvoyante contre vous, était aveuglée au point qu’elle me répondit d’abord qu’à coup sûr je me trompais”

“N’est−il pas plaisant, en effet, de consoler pour et contre, et d’être le seul agent de deux intérêts directement contraires? Me voilà comme la Divinité; recevant les voeux opposés des aveugles mortels, et ne changeant rien à mes décrets immuables. J’ai quitté pourtant ce rôle auguste, pour prendre celui d’Ange consolateur”

“en rentrant chez la mère, je l’ai décidée à éloigner sa fille pour quelque temps, à la mener à la Campagne. Et où? Le coeur ne vous bat pas de joie? Chez votre tante, chez la vieille Rosemonde. Elle doit l’en prévenir aujourd’hui: ainsi vous voilà autorisé à aller retrouver votre Dévote qui n’aura plus à vous objecter le scandale du tête−à−tête”

“Jugez du moment où il faudra réunir les Acteurs. La Campagne offre mille moyens”

Non, Madame, je ne serai point votre ami; je vous aimerai de l’amour le plus tendre, et même le plus ardent, quoique le plus respectueux. Vous pourrez le désespérer, mais non l’anéantir.” Valmont

Elle veut que je sois son ami. Mais moi, qui aime les méthodes nouvelles et difficiles, je ne prétends pas l’en tenir quitte à si bon marché; et assurément je n’aurai pas pris tant de peine auprès d’elle, pour terminer par une séduction ordinaire.”

“sans déraisonnement, point de tendresse; et c’est, je crois, par cette raison que les femmes nous sont si supérieures dans les Lettres d’Amour.”

“si j’ai le talent de perdre les femmes, je n’ai pas moins, quand je veux, celui de les sauver.”

QUADRILÁTERO AMOROSO: “Ce jour−là même, c’est−à−dire hier, Vressac, qui, comme vous pouvez croire, cajole le Vicomte, chassait avec lui, malgré son peu de goût pour la chasse, et comptait bien se consoler la nuit, entre les bras de la femme, de l’ennui que le mari lui causait tout le jour: mais moi, je jugeai qu’il aurait besoin de repos, et je m’occupai des moyens de décider sa Maîtresse à lui laisser le temps d’en prendre.” “Elle me dit que logée entre son mari et son Amant elle avait trouvé plus prudent d’aller chez Vressac, que de le recevoir dans son appartement; et que, puisque je logeais vis−à−vis d’elle, elle croyait plus sûr aussi de venir chez moi; qu’elle s’y rendrait aussitôt que sa Femme de chambre l’aurait laissée seule; que je n’avais qu’à tenir ma porte entrouverte, et l’attendre.”

“pouvais−je souffrir qu’une femme fût perdue pour moi, sans l’être par moi?”

“sans moi, vous seriez heureuse et tranquille. Me pardonnez−vous? dites! ah! dites que vous me pardonnez; dites−moi aussi que vous m’aimez, que vous m’aimerez toujours. J’ai besoin que vous me le répétiez. Ce n’est pas que j’en doute: mais il me semble que plus on en est sûr, et plus il est doux de se l’entendre dire. Vous m’aimez, n’est−ce pas ? oui, vous m’aimez de toute votre âme. Je n’oublie pas que c’est la dernière parole que je vous ai entendue prononcer.”

“je végète depuis si longtemps! il y a plus de six semaines que je ne me suis pas permis une gaieté. Celle−là se présente; puis−je me la refuser? le sujet n’en vaut−il pas la peine? en est−il de plus agréable, dans quelque sens que vous preniez ce mot?” Merteuil

L’amour, la haine, vous n’avez qu’à choisir, tout couche sous le même toit; et vous pouvez, doublant, votre existence, caresser d’une main et frapper de l’autre.”

Il est bien facile de s’entendre avec lui, car il a un regard qui dit tout ce qu’il veut. Je ne sais pas comment il fait: il me disait dans le billet dont je t’ai parlé qu’il n’aurait pas l’air de s’occuper de moi devant Maman: en effet, on dirait toujours qu’il n’y songe pas; et pourtant toutes les fois que je cherche ses yeux, je suis sûre de les rencontrer tout de suite.” Cecile

“Or, vous savez assez que femme qui consent à parler d’amour, finit bientôt par en prendre, ou au moins par se conduire comme si elle en avait.” Valmont

“puis−je deviner les mille caprices qui gouvernent la tête d’une femme, et par qui seuls vous tenez encore à votre sexe?”

são os que mais sabem nadar que morrem afogados.”

Vous savez comme moi que, pour l’effet public, avoir un homme ou recevoir ses soins, est absolument la même chose, à moins que cet homme ne soit un sot; et Prévan ne l’est pas, à beaucoup près.” Você sabe, como eu sei, que, no tocante à alta sociedade, consumar relações com um homem ou receber suas atenções são absolutamente sinônimos, a menos que esse homem seja um completo idiota; e esse Prévan não é nem um pouco bobo.

“Je ne me crois pas plus bête qu’un autre; des moyens de déshonorer une femme, j’en ai trouvé cent, j’en ai trouvé mille: mais quand je me suis occupé de chercher comment elle pourrait s’en sauver, je n’en ai jamais vu la possibilité. Vous−même, ma belle amie, dont la conduite est un chef−d’oeuvre, cent fois j’ai cru vous voir plus de bonheur que de bien joué.” Não me considero mais ingênuo que a média; meios de desonrar uma mulher, ah, conheço-os aos montes, conheço-os aos milhares: mas quando penso num meio de preservar sua reputação, não consigo pensar em nenhum. Você mesma, minha querida, cuja conduta é uma verdadeira obra-prima, por várias vezes vi se safar mais pela sorte que pelo talento da jogada.

“no mundo só há duas coisas: mulheres a ganhar e mulheres a perder; na maioria das vezes, trata-se em verdade duma coisa só.”

Unir o agradável ao mais agradável. O inútil ou desnecessário!


Vingança começa com “v” de velocidade. E amor com “a” de anestesia, tamanha a lentidão, na comparação.

“Vou comer a novinha, mas não conseguirei devassar a beata!”

“Je considérai quelque temps cette figure angélique; puis, parcourant toute sa personne je m’amusais à deviner les contours et les formes à travers un vêtement léger, mais toujours importun.”

“Peu à peu nos yeux, accoutumés à se rencontrer, se fixèrent plus longtemps; enfin ils ne se quittèrent plus, et j’aperçus dans les siens cette douce langueur, signal heureux de l’amour et du désir; mais ce ne fut qu’un moment; et bientôt revenue à elle−même, elle changea, non sans quelque honte, son maintien et son regard.”

“C’est enfin après vous avoir parlé avec une sincérité que l’intérêt même de cet amour n’a pu affaiblir, que vous me fuyez aujourd’hui comme un séducteur dangereux, dont vous auriez reconnu la perfidie.”

“Il sentit facilement que faire un choix entre elles, c’était se perdre; que la fausse honte de se trouver la première infidèle effaroucherait la préférée; que la vanité blessée des deux autres les rendrait ennemies du nouvel Amant, et qu’elles ne manqueraient pas de déployer contre lui la sévérité des grands príncipes; enfin, que la jalousie ramènerait à coup sûr les soins d’un rival qui pouvait être encore à craindre. Tout fût devenu obstacle; tout devenait facile dans son triple projet; chaque femme était indulgente, parce qu’elle y était intéressée, chaque homme, parce qu’il croyait ne pas l’être.” “Des trois maris, l’un était absent, l’autre partait le lendemain au point du jour, le troisième était à la Ville.”

on a toujours assez vécu, quand on a eu le temps d’acquérir l’amour des femmes et l’estime des hommes.”

“Quand je me lève, je me dis; «Je ne la verrai pas.» Je me couche en disant: «Je ne l’ai point vue.» Partout je trouve le malheur.”

“Quant à la prudence, à la finesse, je ne parle pas de moi: mais quelle femme n’en aurait pas plus que vous? Eh! votre Présidente vous mène comme un enfant.

Croyez−moi, Vicomte, on acquiert rarement les qualités dont on peut se passer. Combattant sans risque, vous devez agir sans précaution. Pour vous autres hommes, les défaites ne sont que des succès de moins. Dans cette partie si inégale, notre fortune est de ne pas perdre, et votre malheur de ne pas gagner. Quand je vous accorderais autant de talents qu’à nous, de combien encore ne devrions−nous pas vous surpasser, par la nécessité où nous sommes d’en faire un continuel usage!”

“Mais qu’une femme infortunée sente la première le poids de sa chaîne, quels risques n’a−t−elle pas à courir, si elle tente de s’y soustraire, si elle ose seulement la soulever? Ce n’est qu’en tremblant qu’elle essaie d’éloigner d’elle l’homme que son coeur repousse avec effort.” “Ses bras s’ouvrent encor, quand son coeur est fermé.” Ces Tyrans détrônés devenus mes esclaves (On ne sait si ce vers, ainsi que celui qui se trouve plus haut, sont des citations d’Ouvrages peu connus; ou s’ils font partie de la prose de Madame de Merteuil. Ce qui le ferait croire, c’est la multitude de fautes de ce genre qui se trouvent dans toutes les Lettres de cette correspondance. Celles du Chevalier Danceny sont les seules qui en soient exemptes: peut−être que, comme il s’occupait quelquefois de Poésie, son oreille plus exercée lui faisait éviter plus facilement ce défaut.)” “née pour venger mon sexe et maîtriser le vôtre, j’avais su me créer des moyens inconnus jusqu’à moi”

PREGADOR DO AMOR: “vraies superstitieuses, ont pour le Prêtre le respect et la foi qui n’est dû qu’à la Divinité.” “autênticos supersticiosos, têm pelo Padre o respeito e a fé que não merece senão a Divindade.”

“Tema principalmente aquelas que, mais vãs que pudicas, não sabem consentir por necessidade com o rompimento da relação.”

“abandonadas sem reserva à fermentação de seus ideais, parem essas cartas tão doces, mas tão perigosas de escrever; e não hesite um segundo em atribuir toda essa fraqueza que delas se apodera ao objeto culpado e causador; não passam de imprudentes, que no Amante atual não pressentem o Inimigo futuro.”

“posso dizer: sou minha obra.”


“Ce travail sur moi−même avait fixé mon attention sur l’expression des figures et le caractère des physionomies; et j’y gagnai ce coup d’oeil pénétrant, auquel l’expérience m’a pourtant appris à ne pas me fier entièrement; mais qui, en tout, m’a rarement trompée.

Je n’avais pas 15 ans, je possédais déjà les talents auxquels la plus grande partie de nos Politiques doivent leur réputation, et je ne me trouvais encore qu’aux premiers éléments de la science que je voulais acquérir.”

A REFLEXÃO GERA A DEVASSIDÃO: “Vous jugez bien que, comme toutes les jeunes filles, je cherchais à deviner l’amour et ses plaisirs: mais n’ayant jamais été au Couvent, n’ayant point de bonne amie, et surveillée par une mère vigilante, je n’avais que des idées vagues et que je ne pouvais fixer; la nature même, dont assurément je n’ai eu qu’à me louer depuis, ne me donnait encore aucun indice. On eût dit qu’elle travaillait en silence à perfectionner son ouvrage. Ma tête seule fermentait; je ne désirais pas de jouir, je voulais savoir; le désir de m’instruire m’en suggéra les moyens.

“o medo de me trair me impedia de me salvar” Luxembourg Merteuil

“…et j’arrivai vierge entre les bras de M. de Merteuil. J’attendais avec sécurité le moment qui devait m’instruire, et j’eus besoin de réflexion pour montrer de l’embarras et de la crainte. Cette première nuit, dont on se fait pour l’ordinaire une idée si cruelle ou si douce ne me présentait qu’une occasion d’expérience: douleur et plaisir, j’observai tout exactement, et ne voyais dans ces diverses sensations que des faits à recueillir et à méditer.

Ce genre d’étude parvint bientôt à me plaire: mais fidèle à mes principes, et sentant peut−être par instinct, que nul ne devait être plus loin de ma confiance que mon mari, je résolus, par cela seul que j’étais sensible, de me montrer impassible à ses yeux. Cette froideur apparente fut par la suite le fondement inébranlable de son aveugle confiance: j’y joignis, par une seconde réflexion, l’air d’étourderie [distraído] qu’autorisait mon âge; et jamais il ne me jugea plus enfant que dans les moments où je le jouais avec plus d’audace.

CIDADESTÉRIL: “je me laissai d’abord entraîner par le tourbillon du monde [o lugar mais calmo, se bem pensar], et je me livrai tout entière à ses distractions futiles. Mais au bout de quelques mois, M. de Merteuil m’ayant menée à sa triste campagne, la crainte de l’ennui fit revenir le goût de l’étude; et ne m’y trouvant entourée que de gens dont la distance avec moi me mettait à l’abri de tout soupçon, j’en profitai pour donner un champ plus vaste à mes expériences. Ce fut là, surtout, que je m’assurai que l’amour que l’on nous vante comme la cause de nos plaisirs n’en est au plus que le prétexte.“o amor que dizem ser a causa dos nossos prazeres não passa de pretexto.”

“La maladie de M. de Merteuil vint interrompre de si douces occupations; il fallut le suivre à la Ville, où il venait chercher des secours. Il mourut, comme vous savez, peu de temps après; et quoique à tout prendre, je n’eusse pas à me plaindre de lui, je n’en sentis pas moins vivement le prix de la liberté qu’allait me donner mon veuvage, et je me promis bien d’en profiter.

“Ma mère comptait que j’entrerais au Couvent, ou reviendrais vivre avec elle. Je refusai l’un et l’autre parti; et tout ce que j’accordai à la décence fut de retourner dans cette même campagne où il me restait bien encore quelques observations à faire.”

Donner le cul au couvent.

Je les fortifiai par le secours de la lecture: mais ne croyez pas qu’elle fût toute du genre que vous la supposez. J’étudiai nos moeurs dans les Romans; nos opinions dans les Philosophes; je cherchai même dans les Moralistes les plus sévères ce qu’ils exigeaient de nous, et je m’assurai ainsi de ce qu’on pouvait faire, de ce qu’on devait penser et de ce qu’il fallait paraître [A mulher de César parece e é honesta, mas será uma santa ou só pensa em sacanagem? Quanto mais suja for, mais mulher de César será!]. Une fois fixée sur ces trois objets, le dernier seul présentait quelques difficultés dans son exécution; j’espérai les vaincre et j’en méditai les moyens.”

Suruba dentro da caixa craniana.

Uma puta para poucos que era muito conhecida: “Je commençais à m’ennuyer de mes plaisirs rustiques, trop peu variés pour ma tête active; je sentais un besoin de coquetterie qui me raccommoda avec l’amour; non pour le ressentir à la vérité, mais pour l’inspirer et le feindre [simular]. En vain m’avait−on dit et avais−je lu qu’on ne pouvait feindre ce sentiment, je voyais pourtant que, pour y parvenir, il suffisait de joindre à l’esprit d’un Auteur le talent d’un Comédien. Je m’exerçai dans les deux genres, et peut−être avec quelque succès: mais au lieu de rechercher les vains applaudissements du Théâtre, je résolus d’employer à mon bonheur ce que tant d’autres sacrifiaient à la vanité.”

“Cette longue solitude, cette austère retraite avaient jeté sur moi un vernis de pruderie qui effrayait nos plus agréables; ils se tenaient à l’écart, et me laissaient livrée à une foule d’ennuyeux, qui tous prétendaient à ma main. L’embarras n’était pas de les refuser; mais plusieurs de ces refus déplaisaient à ma famille, et je perdais dans ces tracasseries intérieures le temps dont je m’étais promis un si charmant usage. Je fus donc obligée, pour rappeler les uns et éloigner les autres, d’afficher quelques inconséquences, et d’employer à nuire à ma réputation le soin que je comptais mettre à la conserver. Je réussis facilement, comme vous pouvez croire.”

“Ces reconnaissantes Duègnes [matronas] s’établirent mes apologistes; et leur zèle aveugle pour ce qu’elles appelaient leur ouvrage fut porté au point qu’au moindre propos qu’on se permettait sur moi, tout le parti Prude criait au scandale et à l’injure. Le même moyen me valut encore le suffrage de nos femmes à prétentions [prostitutas], qui, persuadées que je renonçais à courir la même carrière qu’elles, me choisirent pour l’objet de leurs éloges, toutes les fois qu’elles voulaient prouver qu’elles ne médisaient pas de tout le monde.”

Uma gorda de respeito.

“Cependant ma conduite précédente avait ramené les Amants; et pour me ménager entre eux et mes fidèles protectrices, je me montrai comme une femme sensible, mais difficile, à qui l’excès de sa délicatesse fournissait des armes contre l’amour.”

les hommes qui ne me plaisaient point furent toujours les seuls dont j’eus l’air d’accepter les hommages. Je les employais utilement à me procurer les honneurs de la résistance, tandis que je me livrais sans crainte à l’Amant préféré.”

j’ai trouvé moins dangereux de me tromper dans le choix, que de le laisser pénétrer. Je gagne encore par là d’ôter les vraisemblances, sur lesquelles seules on peut nous juger.” “descobri ser menos perigoso me equivocar nas escolhas do alvo, que deixar-me por fim ser a alvejada. Dessa forma, disfarço as aparências, único critério fiável do julgamento.”

“a precaução de jamais escrever, jamais deixar uma só pegada”

Requebrada no ritmo

“a estória de Sansão é uma alegoria e tanto dos segredos que erradamente confessamos” “Dalila moderna, sempre tratei de empregar todos os meios para apanhar esse segredo tão caro a cada um. Ah, de quantos Sansões cristãos não conservo eu a cabeleira, segurando uma tesoura ainda afiada? Esses são os fracos do amor. Mais vale dissimular uma cumplicidade, incutir-lhes o sentimento da infidelidade, a fim de inocentar-se perante seu tribunal inquisitório.” “a idéia lisonjeira desfrutada por cada amante na fila: a de ser o único que jamais amei. Ainda quando essa ilusão não era possível, avançava primeiro quando pressentia a hora da ruptura, para evitar o ridículo e a calúnia.”

“eu já te desejava antes de haver-te visto; seduzida por tua reputação, me parecia que faltavas em meu extenso currículo. Tu foste, confesso, meu único passatempo que por um breve instante chegou a possuir um império sobre mim.”

cette fille est ma soeur de lait, et ce lien qui ne nous en paraît pas un, n’est pas sans force pour les gens de cet état”

Qu’est−ce donc que vous voulez dire, que votre amour devient un tourment pour vous, que vous ne pouvez plus vivre ainsi, ni soutenir plus longtemps votre situation? Est−ce que vous allez cesser de m’aimer, parce que cela n’est pas si agréable qu’autrefois? Il me semble que je ne suis pas plus heureuse que vous, bien au contraire; et pourtant je ne vous aime que davantage.” “et vous êtes fâché! Vous m’aviez pourtant bien assuré, avant que je vous l’eusse dit, que cela suffisait pour vous rendre heureux. Vous ne pouvez pas le nier: c’est dans vos Lettres. Quoique je ne les aie plus, je m’en souviens comme quand je les lisais tous les jours. Et parce que nous voilà absents, vous ne pensez plus de même! Mais cette absence ne durera pas toujours, peut−être? Mon Dieu, que je suis malheureuse! et c’est bien vous qui en êtes cause!

comme vous embellissez et faites chérir tous les sentiments honnêtes! Ah! c’est là votre séduction; c’est la plus forte; c’est la seule qui soit, à la fois, puissante et respectable.” Valmont

Ah! pourquoi votre bonheur ne dépend−il pas de moi? comme je me vengerais de vous, en vous rendant heureuse! Mais ce doux empire, la stérile amitié ne le produit pas; il n’est dû qu’à l’amour.” “Ah! por que raios sua felicidade não depende de mim? como eu me vingaria de você, tornando-a feliz! Mas esse doce poder, a estéril amizade não produz; ele só emana do amor.”

“me verrai−je réduit à brûler d’un amour que je sens bien qui ne pourra s’éteindre, sans oser même implorer votre secours! Ah! Madame, de grâce, n’abusez pas de votre empire!”

“Le peu de confiance que vous témoigne votre Maman et ses procédés si durs envers vous autorisent de reste cette petite supercherie. C’est au surplus le seul moyen de continuer à recevoir les Lettres de Danceny, et à lui faire passer les vôtres; tout autre est réellement trop dangereux, et pourrait vous perdre tous deux sans ressource: aussi ma prudente amitié se reprocherait−elle de les employer davantage.”

Ce sont ces petits détails qui donnent la vraisemblance, et la vraisemblance rend les mensonges sans conséquence, en ôtant le désir de les vérifier.” “São os pequenos detalhes que tornam verossímil, e a verossimilhança torna as mentiras sem conseqüência, evitando desconfianças importunas.”

Je hais tout ce qui a l’air de la tromperie; c’est là mon caractère. Mais vos malheurs m’ont touché au point que je tenterai tout pour les adoucir.” “Eu odeio a trapaça, mas você me convenceu a ser um trapaceiro.”

ESCOLA DE PEDÓFILOS VIRA-CASACAS: “Adieu, ma belle pupille: car vous êtes ma pupille. Aimez un peu votre tuteur, et surtout ayez avec lui de la docilité; vous vous en trouverez bien. Je m’occupe de votre bonheur, et soyez sûre que j’y trouverai le mien.”

“si vous avez quelque grand coup à faire, si vous devez tenter quelque entreprise où ce Rival dangereux vous paraisse à craindre, arrivez. (…) Que vous êtes heureux de m’avoir pour amie! Je suis pour vous une Fée bienfaisante. Vous languissez loin de la Beauté qui vous engage; je dis un mot, et vous vous retrouvez auprès d’elle. Vous voulez vous venger d’une femme qui vous nuit; je vous marque l’endroit où vous devez frapper et la livre à votre discrétion. Enfin, pour écarter de la lice un concurrent redoutable, c’est encore moi que vous invoquez, et je vous exauce. En vérité, si vous ne passez pas votre vie à me remercier, c’est que vous êtes un ingrat.” Merteuil

“j’arrêtai par mon sérieux sa gaieté qui me parut trop légère pour un début; il se rabattit sur la

délicate amitié; et ce fut sous ce drapeau banal que nous commençâmes notre attaque réciproque.”

Au dessert, on parla d’une Pièce nouvelle qu’on devait donner le Lundi suivant aux Français. Je témoignai quelques regrets de n’avoir pas ma loge; il m’offrit la sienne que je refusai d’abord, comme cela se pratique: à quoi il répondit assez plaisamment que je ne l’entendais pas, qu’à coup sûr il ne ferait pas le sacrifice de sa loge à quelqu’un qu’il ne connaissait pas, mais qu’il m’avertissait seulement que Madame la Maréchale en disposerait. Elle se prêta à cette plaisanterie, et j’acceptai.”

Plusieurs personnes ne s’étant pas remises au jeu l’après−souper, la conversation fut plus générale et moins intéressante: mais nos yeux parlèrent beaucoup. Je dis nos yeux: je devrais dire les siens; car les miens n’eurent qu’un langage, celui de la surprise. Il dut penser que je m’étonnais et m’occupais excessivement de l’effet prodigieux qu’il faisait sur moi. Je crois que je le laissai fort satisfait; je n’étais pas moins contente.

Il était galant, il devint tendre. Ce n’est pas que les propos ne fussent à peu près les mêmes; la circonstance y forçait: mais son regard, devenu moins vif, était plus caressant; l’inflexion de sa voix plus douce; son sourire n’était plus celui de la finesse, mais du contentement. Enfin dans ses discours, éteignant peu à peu le feu de la saillie, l’esprit fit place à la délicatesse. Je vous le demande, qu’eussiez−vous fait de mieux?”

mais j’étais bien sûre aussi, d’après ma réputation, qu’il ne me traiterait pas avec cette légèreté que, pour peu qu’on ait d’usage, on n’emploie qu’avec les femmes à aventures, ou celles qui n’ont aucune expérience; et je voyais mon succès certain s’il prononçait le mot d’amour, s’il avait la prétention, surtout, de l’obtenir de moi. Qu’il est commode d’avoir affaire à vous autres gens à principes [os homens]!” “et ce refrain perpétuel de sa part, je ne vous demande qu’un mot; et ce silence de la mienne, qui semble ne le laisser attendre que pour le faire désirer davantage; au travers de tout cela, une main cent fois prise, qui se retire toujours et ne se refuse jamais.

#offtopic #bienquàpropos Um grande homem precisa ser rico também em defeitos. Desses meu pai me forneceu uma abundância tão rara quanto oportuna para servir de polpa a um homem só.

Mais voulant frapper le coup décisif, j’appelai les larmes à mon secours. Ce fut exactement le Zaïre, vous pleurez [tragédia de Voltaire]. Cet empire qu’il se crut sur moi, et l’espoir qu’il en conçut de me perdre à son gré, lui tinrent lieu de tout l’amour d’Orosmane.”

Le jour fatal arrivé, ce jour où je devais perdre ma vertu et ma réputation, je donnai mes instructions à ma fidèle Victoire [sua femme de chambre], et elle les exécuta comme vous le verrez bientôt.” “Le jeu dura plus que je n’avais pensé. Le Diable me tentait, et je succombai au désir d’aller consoler l’impatient prisonnier. Je m’acheminais ainsi à ma perte, quand je réfléchis qu’une fois rendue tout à fait, je n’aurais plus sur lui l’empire de le tenir dans le costume de décence nécessaire à mes projets. J’eus la force de résister. Je rebroussai chemin, et revins, non sans humeur, reprendre place à ce jeu éternel. Il finit pourtant, et chacun s’en alla. Pour moi, je sonnai mes femmes, je me déshabillai fort vite, et les renvoyai de même.” “Il n’avait encore que balbutié, quand j’entendis Victoire accourir, et appeler les Gens qu’elle avait gardés chez elle, comme je le lui avais ordonné. Là, prenant mon ton de Reine, et élevant la voix: «Sortez, Monsieur, continuai−je, et ne reparaissez jamais devant moi.» Là−dessus, la foule de mes gens entra.

Le pauvre Prévan perdit la tête, et croyant voir un guet−apens [emboscada] dans ce qui n’était au fond qu’une plaisanterie, il se jeta sur son épée. Mal lui en prit: car mon Valet de chambre, brave et vigoureux, le saisit au corps et le terrassa.”

aussitôt qu’il a été jour chez moi, ma dévote Voisine était déjà au chevet de mon lit, pour savoir la vérité et les détails de cette horrible aventure. J’ai été obligée de me désoler avec elle, pendant une heure, sur la corruption du siècle. Un moment après, j’ai reçu de la Maréchale le billet que je joins ici. Enfin, avant 5 heures, j’ai vu arriver, à mon grand étonnement, M… (Le Commandant du corps dans lequel M. de Prévan servait). Il venait, m’a−t−il dit, me faire ses excuses, de ce qu’un Officier de son corps avait pu me manquer à ce point. Il ne l’avait appris qu’à dîner chez la Maréchale, et avait sur−le−champ envoyé ordre à Prévan de se rendre en prison. J’ai demandé grâce, et il me l’a refusée. Alors j’ai pensé que, comme complice, il fallait m’exécuter de mon côté, et garder au moins de rigides arrêts. J’ai fait fermer ma porte, et dire que j’étais incommodée.” “Mon Dieu, qu’une jeune femme est malheureuse! elle n’a rien fait encore, quand elle s’est mise à l’abri de la médisance; il faut qu’elle en impose même à la calomnie.”

“la femme qui garde une volonté à elle n’aime pas autant qu’elle le dit. Ce n’est pas que je soupçonne votre Maîtresse d’inconstance: mais elle est bien jeune: elle a grand−peur de sa Maman, qui, comme vous le savez, ne cherche qu’à vous nuire; et peut−être serait−il dangereux de rester trop longtemps sans l’occuper de vous.” Valmont

“ne nous voyons plus; partez; et, jusque−là, fuyons surtout ces entretiens particuliers et trop dangereux, où, par une inconcevable puissance, sans jamais parvenir à vous dire ce que je veux, je passe mon temps à écouter ce que je ne devrais pas entendre.” La Presidente de Tourvel

“Ne craignez pas que votre absence altère jamais mes sentiments pour vous; comment parviendrais−je à les vaincre, quand je n’ai plus le courage de les combattre? Vous le voyez, je vous dis tout, je crains moins d’avouer ma faiblesse, que d’y succomber: mais cet empire que j’ai perdu sur mes sentiments, je le conserverai sur mes actions“Je vous devrai la douceur de goûter sans remords un sentiment délicieux. À présent, au contraire, effrayée de mes sentiments, de mes pensées, je crains également de m’occuper de vous et de moi; votre idée même m’épouvante: quand je ne peux la fuir, je la combats; je ne l’éloigne pas, mais je la repousse.” “si, pour vous rendre heureux, il ne fallait que consentir à être malheureuse, vous pouvez m’en croire, je n’hésiterais pas un moment… Mais devenir coupable!… non, mon ami, non, plutôt mourir mille fois.”

“On ne tremble point auprès de l’homme qu’on estime; on n’éloigne pas, surtout, celui qu’on a jugé digne de quelque amitié: c’est l’homme dangereux qu’on redoute et qu’on fuit.” Valmont

“Ce n’est plus l’amant fidèle et malheureux, recevant les conseils et les consolations d’une amie tendre et sensible; c’est l’accusé devant son juge, l’esclave devant son maître. Ces nouveaux titres imposent sans doute de nouveaux devoirs; je m’engage à les remplir tous.”

“Cécile ne m’aime plus. Oui, je vois cette affreuse vérité à travers le voile dont votre amitié l’entoure. Vous avez voulu me préparer à recevoir ce coup mortel. Je vous remercie de vos soins, mais peut−on en imposer à l’amour? Il court au−devant de ce qui l’intéresse; il n’apprend pas son sort, il le devine.” Danceny

“s’il y avait en effet trop de danger, elle sait bien que je ne veux pas qu’elle se risque trop.”

“Une si courte absence a bien changé vos sentiments. Mais pourquoi me tromper? pourquoi me dire que vous m’aimez toujours, que vous m’aimez davantage? Votre Maman, en détruisant votre amour, a−t−elle aussi détruit votre candeur?”

“j’ai toujours pensé que quand il n’y avait plus que des louanges [éloges] à donner à une femme, on pouvait s’en reposer sur elle, et s’occuper d’autre chose.” Valmont

“Oui, j’aime à voir, à considérer cette femme prudente, engagée, sans s’en être aperçue, dans un sentier [senda] qui ne permet plus de retour, et dont la pente rapide et dangereuse l’entraîne malgré elle, et la force à me suivre. Là, effrayée du péril qu’elle court, elle voudrait s’arrêter et ne peut se retenir. Ses soins et son adresse peuvent bien rendre ses pas moins grands; mais il faut qu’ils se succèdent. Quelquefois, n’osant fixer le danger, elle ferme les yeux, et se laissant aller, s’abandonne à mes soins. Plus souvent, une nouvelle crainte ranime ses efforts dans son effroi mortel, elle veut tenter encore de retourner en arrière; elle épuise ses forces pour gravir péniblement un court espace; et bientôt un magique pouvoir la replace plus près de ce danger, que vainement elle avait voulu fuir. Alors n’ayant plus que moi pour guide et pour appui, sans songer à me reprocher davantage une chute inévitable, elle m’implore pour la retarder. Les ferventes prières, les humbles supplications, tout ce que les mortels, dans leur crainte, offrent à la Divinité, c’est moi qui les reçois d’elle; et vous voulez que, sourd à ses voeux, et détruisant moi−même le culte qu’elle me rend, j’emploie à la précipiter la puissance qu’elle invoque pour la soutenir! Ah! laissez−moi du moins le temps d’observer ces touchants combats entre l’amour et la vertu.

Eh quoi! ce même spectacle qui vous fait courir au Théâtre avec empressement, que vous y applaudissez avec fureur, le croyez−vous moins attachant dans la réalité? Ces sentiments d’une âme pure et tendre, qui redoute le bonheur qu’elle désire, et ne cesse pas de se défendre, même alors qu’elle cesse de résister, vous les écoutez avec enthousiasme: ne seraient−ils sans prix que pour celui qui les fait naître? Voilà pourtant, voilà les délicieuses jouissances que cette femme céleste m’offre chaque jour; et vous me reprochez d’en savourer les douceurs! Ah! le temps ne viendra que trop tôt, où, dégradée par sa chute, elle ne sera plus pour moi qu’une femme ordinaire.” “Écartons sa dangereuse idée; que je redevienne moi−même pour traiter un sujet plus gai.”

La jolie mine de la petite personne, sa bouche si fraîche, son air enfantin, sa gaucherie même fortifiaient ces sages réflexions; je résolus d’agir en conséquence, et le succès a couronné l’entreprise.” “maniant avec adresse les armes de votre sexe, vous triomphiez par la finesse; moi, rendant à l’homme ses droits imprescriptibles, je subjuguais par l’autorité.”

“Elle était dans son premier sommeil, et dans celui de son âge; de façon que je suis arrivé jusqu’à son lit, sans qu’elle se soit réveillée. J’ai d’abord été tenté d’aller plus avant, et d’essayer de passer pour un songe” “Sans doute on ne lui a pas bien appris dans son Couvent à combien de périls divers est exposée la timide innocence, et tout ce qu’elle a à garder pour n’être pas surprise: car, portant toute son attention, toutes ses forces à se défendre d’un baiser, qui n’était qu’une fausse attaque, tout le reste était laissé sans défense; le moyen de n’en pas profiter! J’ai donc changé ma marche, et sur le champ j’ai pris poste. Ici nous avons pensé être perdus tous deux: la petite fille, tout effarouchée, a voulu crier de bonne foi; heureusement sa voix s’est éteinte dans les pleurs. Elle s’était jetée aussi au cordon de sa sonnette, mais mon adresse a retenu son bras à temps.“Une main occupée pour la force, l’autre pour l’amour, quel Orateur pourrait prétendre à la grâce em pareille situation?” “Alors ayant guidé ses bras timides autour de mon corps, et la pressant de l’un des miens plus amoureusement, le doux baiser a été reçu en effet; mais bien, mais parfaitement reçu: tellement enfin que l’Amour n’aurait pas pu mieux faire.“Vous me supposez là bien empressé, bien actif, n’est−il pas vrai? point du tout. J’ai pris goût aux lenteurs, vous dis−je. Une fois sûr d’arriver, pourquoi tant presser le voyage?” “et je la trouvais ici dénuée de tout secours étranger. Elle avait pourtant à combattre l’amour, et l’amour soutenu par la pudeur ou la honte, et fortifié surtout par l’humeur que j’avais donnée, et dont on avait beaucoup pris. L’occasion était seule; mais elle était là, toujours offerte, toujours présente, et l’Amour était absent.” “Hé bien! sans autre soin, la tendre amoureuse, oubliant ses serments, a cédé d’abord et fini par consentir: non pas qu’après ce premier moment les reproches et les larmes ne soient revenus de concert; j’ignore s’ils étaient vrais ou feints: mais, comme il arrive toujours, ils ont cessé, dès que je me suis occupé à y donner lieu de nouveau. Enfin, de faiblesse en reproche, et de reproche en faiblesse, nous ne nous sommes séparés que satisfaits l’un de l’autre, et également d’accord pour le rendez−vous de ce soir.” “Et pour la première fois, sa mère, alarmée de ce changement extrême, lui témoignait un intérêt assez tendre! et la Présidente aussi, qui s’empressait autour d’elle! Oh! pour ces soins−là ils ne sont que prêtés

“Un petit moment après, il a voulu m’embrasser; et pendant que je me défendais, comme c’est naturel, il a si bien fait, que je n’aurais pas voulu pour toute chose au monde… mais, lui voulait un baiser auparavant. Il a bien fallu, car comment faire? d’autant que j’avais essayé d’appeler, mais outre que je n’ai pas pu, il a bien su me dire que, s’il venait quelqu’un, il saurait bien rejeter toute la faute sur moi; et, en effet, c’était bien facile, à cause de cette clef. Ensuite il ne s’est pas retiré davantage. Il en a voulu un second; et celui−là, je ne savais pas ce qui en était, mais il m’a toute troublée; et après, c’était encore pis qu’auparavant. Oh! par exemple, c’est bien mal ça. Enfin après…, vous m’exempterez bien de dire le reste; mais je suis malheureuse autant qu’on puisse l’être.”

«Ah! Maman, votre fille est bien malheureuse!»

“J’espérais que l’absence, les distractions détruiraient un amour que je regardais plutôt comme une erreur de l’enfance que comme une véritable passion. Cependant, loin d’avoir rien gagné depuis mon séjour ici, je m’aperçois que cet enfant se livre de plus en plus à une mélancolie dangereuse” Madame de Volanges

“Heureusement j’ai eu la prudence de ne lui faire aucune question, et elle n’a pas osé m’en dire davantage: mais il n’en est pas moins clair que c’est cette malheureuse passion qui la tourmente.” “Non, je ne souffrirai point qu’elle épouse celui−ci pour aimer celui−là, et j’aime mieux compromettre mon autorité que sa vertu. Je crois donc que je vais prendre le parti le plus sage de retirer la parole que j’ai donnée à M. de Gercourt.” “De quel avantage sera−t−il donc pour ma fille d’être née riche, si elle n’en doit pas moins être esclave de la fortune?”

DEPOIS QUE A BARCA JÁ VIROU ENVIAM OS MECÂNICOS: “Je conviens que M. de Gercourt est un parti meilleur, peut−être, que je ne devais l’espérer pour ma fille; j’avoue même que j’ai été extrêmement flattée du choix qu’il a fait d’elle. Mais enfin, Danceny est d’une aussi bonne maison que lui; il ne lui cède en rien pour les qualités personnelles; il a sur M. de Gercourt l’avantage d’aimer et d’être aimé: il n’est pas riche à la vérité; mais ma fille ne l’est−elle pas assez pour eux deux? Ah! pourquoi lui ravir la satisfaction si douce d’enrichir ce qu’elle aime!

Ces mariages qu’on calcule au lieu de les assortir, qu’on appelle de convenance, et où tout se convient en effet, hors les goûts et les caractères, ne sont−ils pas la source la plus féconde de ces éclats scandaleux qui deviennent tous les jours plus fréquents? J’aime mieux différer: au moins j’aurai le temps d’étudier ma fille que je ne connais pas. Je me sens bien le courage de lui causer un chagrin passager, si elle en doit recueillir un bonheur plus solide: mais de risquer de la livrer à un désespoir éternel, cela n’est pas dans mon cour.

“je puis dire que dans le triste Château de ma vieille tante, je n’ai pas éprouvé un moment d’ennui. Au fait, n’y ai−je pas jouissances, privations, espoir, incertitude? Qu’a−t−on de plus sur un plus grand théâtre? des spectateurs? Hé! laissez faire, ils ne manqueront pas.”

“Heureux, ma belle amie, qui a su, comme vous, s’accoutumer à n’y jamais céder. Enfin j’ai différé ma vengeance; j’ai fait ce sacrifice à vos vues sur Gercourt.”

“sans doute elle ignore encore que les flèches de l’Amour, comme la lance d’Achille, portent avec elles le remède aux blessures qu’elles font.”

“comment la tête se détourne et les regards se baissent, tandis que les discours, toujours prononcés d’une voix faible, deviennent rares et entrecoupés. Ces symptômes précieux annoncent, d’une manière non équivoque, le consentement de l’âme: mais rarement a−t−il encore passé jusqu’aux sens; je crois même qu’il est toujours dangereux de tenter alors quelque entreprise trop marquée; parce que cet état d’abandon n’étant jamais sans un plaisir très doux, on ne saurait forcer d’en sortir, sans causer une humeur qui tourne infailliblement au profit de la défense.”

“le premier pas franchi, ces Prudes austères savent−elles s’arrêter? leur amour est une véritable explosion; la résistance y donne plus de force. Ma farouche Dévote courrait après moi, si je cessais de courir après elle.

“Aussi ce sera la première infidélité que je ferai à ma grave conquête; et je vous promets de profiter du premier prétexte pour m’absenter vingt−quatre heures d’auprès d’elle. Ce sera sa punition, de m’avoir tenu si longtemps éloigné de vous. Savez−vous que voilà plus de deux mois que cette aventure m’occupe? oui, deux mois et trois jours; il est vrai que je compte demain, puisqu’elle ne sera véritablement consommée qu’alors. Cela me rappelle que Mademoiselle de B*** a résisté les trois mois complets. Je suis bien aise de voir que la franche coquetterie a plus de défense que l’austère vertu.

“Mais quoi! dans ma crédule sécurité, je dormais tranquillement; je dormais, et la foudre est tombée sur moi. Non, je ne conçois rien à ce départ: il faut renoncer à connaître les femmes.” “À quoi me sert de m’être établi dans son coeur, de l’avoir embrasé de tous les feux de l’amour,

d’avoir porté jusqu’au délire le trouble de ses sens; si tranquille dans sa retraite, elle peut aujourd’hui s’enorgueillir de sa fuite plus que moi de mes victoires?” “Pourquoi courir après celui qui nous fuit, et négliger ceux qui se présentent? Ah! pourquoi?…” “Mais que de travaux encore! que j’en étais près hier, et qu’aujourd’hui je m’en vois éloigné! Comment m’en rapprocher?” “Personne ne sait rien, personne ne désire de rien savoir à peine en aurait−on parlé, si j’avais consenti qu’on parlât d’autre chose. Madame de Rosemonde, chez qui j’ai couru ce matin quand j’ai appris cette nouvelle, m’a répondu avec le froid de son âge que c’était la suite naturelle de l’indisposition que Madame de Tourvel avait eue hier; qu’elle avait craint une maladie, et qu’elle avait préféré d’être chez elle: elle trouve cela tout simple, elle en aurait fait autant, m’a−t−elle dit, comme s’il pouvait y avoir quelque chose de commun entre elles deux! entre elle, qui n’a plus qu’à mourir; et l’autre, qui fait le charme et le tourment de ma vie!” “Oh! je renouerai avec sa fille; je veux la travailler à ma fantaisie: aussi bien, je crois que je resterai ici quelque temps” “au moins, je parle à quelqu’un qui m’entend, et non aux automates près de qui je végète depuis ce matin. En vérité, plus je vais, et plus je suis tenté de croire qu’il n’y a que vous et moi dans le monde, qui valions quelque chose.”

“Que vous dirai−je enfin? j’aime, oui, j’aime éperdument. Hélas! ce mot que j’écris pour la première fois, ce mot si souvent demandé sans être obtenu, je payerais de ma vie la douceur de pouvoir une fois seulement le faire entendre à celui qui l’inspire; et pourtant il faut le refuser sans cesse! Il va douter encore de mes sentiments; il croira avoir à s’en plaindre. Je suis bien malheureuse!” Tourvel

“Pour moi, je l’avoue, je n’ai jamais cru à ces passions entraînantes et irrésistibles, dont il semble qu’on soit convenu de faire l’excuse générale de nos dérèglements.” Merteuil

“J’ai rencontré, comme vous pouvez croire, plusieurs femmes atteintes de ce mal dangereux; j’ai reçu les confidences de quelques−unes. À les entendre, il n’en est point dont l’Amant ne soit un être parfait: mais ces perfections chimériques n’existent que dans leur imagination. Leur tête exaltée ne rêve qu’agréments et vertus; elles en parent à plaisir celui qu’elles préfèrent: c’est la draperie d’un Dieu, portée souvent par un modèle abject: mais quel qu’il soit, à peine l’en ont−elles revêtu, que, dupes de leur propre ouvrage, elles se prosternent pour l’adorer.“C’est alors que les moindres défauts paraissent choquants et insupportables, par le contraste qu’ils forment avec l’idée de perfection qui nous avait séduits. Chacun des deux époux croit cependant que l’autre seul a changé, et que lui vaut toujours ce qu’un moment d’erreur l’avait fait apprécier. Le charme qu’il n’éprouve plus, il s’étonne de ne le plus faire naître; il en est humilié: la vanité blessée aigrit les esprits, augmente les torts, produit l’humeur, enfante la haine; et de frivoles plaisirs sont payés enfin par de longues infortunes.

vous ne chérissez de l’amour que les peines, et non les plaisirs! Rien de mieux, et vous figurerez à merveille dans un Roman. De la passion, de l’infortune, de la vertu par−dessus tout, que de belles choses! Au milieu de ce brillant cortège, on s’ennuie quelquefois à la vérité, mais on le rend bien.” “il faut convenir pourtant que vous avez manqué votre chef−d’oeuvre; c’était de tout dire à votre Maman.”

ESCOLA DA VIDA: “la honte que cause l’amour est comme sa douleur: on ne l’éprouve qu’une fois. On peut encore la feindre après; mais on ne la sent plus. Cependant le plaisir reste, et c’est bien quelque chose. Je crois même avoir démêlé, à travers votre petit bavardage, que vous pourriez le compter pour beaucoup. Allons, un peu de bonne foi. Là, ce trouble qui vous empêchait de faire comme vous disiez, qui vous faisait trouver si difficile de se défendre, qui vous rendait comme fâchée, quand Valmont s’en est allé, était−ce bien la honte qui le causait? ou si c’était le plaisir? et ses façons de dire auxquelles on ne sait comment répondre, cela ne viendrait−il pas de ses façons de faire? Ah! petite fille, vous mentez, et vous mentez à votre amie!

Ce qui pour tout le monde serait un plaisir, et pourrait n’être que cela, devient dans votre situation un véritable bonheur. En effet, placée entre une mère dont il vous importe d’être aimée, et un Amant dont vous désirez de l’être toujours, comment ne voyez−vous pas que le seul moyen d’obtenir ces succès opposés est de vous occuper d’un tiers?” “En l’assurant sans cesse de votre amour, vous ne lui en accorderez pas les dernières preuves. Ces refus, si peu pénibles dans le cas où vous serez, il ne manquera pas de les mettre sur le compte de votre vertu; il s’en plaindra peut−être, mais il vous en aimera davantage, et pour avoir le double mérite, aux yeux de l’un de sacrifier l’amour, à ceux de l’autre, d’y résister, il ne vous en coûtera que d’en goûter les plaisirs. Oh! combien de femmes ont perdu leur réputation, qui l’eussent conservée avec soin, si elles avaient pu la soutenir par de pareils moyens! Ce parti que je vous propose, ne vous paraît−il pas le plus raisonnable, comme le plus doux? Savez−vous ce que vous avez gagné à celui que vous avez pris? c’est que votre Maman a attribué votre redoublement de tristesse à un redoublement d’amour, qu’elle en est outrée, et que pour vous en punir elle n’attend que d’en être plus sûre. Elle vient de m’en écrire; elle tentera tout pour obtenir cet aveu de vous−même. Elle ira, peut−être, me dit−elle, jusqu’à vous proposer Danceny pour époux; et cela pour vous engager à parler. Et si, vous laissant séduire par cette trompeuse tendresse, vous répondiez, selon votre coeur, bientôt renfermée pour longtemps, peut−être pour toujours, vous pleureriez à loisir votre aveugle crédulité.

Pour ce qu’on fait d’un mari, l’un vaut toujours bien l’autre; et le plus incommode est encore moins gênant qu’une mère. Une fois plus contente de vous, votre Maman vous mariera enfin; et alors, plus libre dans vos démarches, vous pourrez, à votre choix, quitter Valmont pour prendre Danceny, ou même les garder tous deux. Car, prenez−y garde, votre Danceny est gentil: mais c’est un de ces hommes qu’on a quand on veut et tant qu’on veut; on peut donc se mettre à l’aise avec lui. Il n’en est pas de même de Valmont: on le garde difficilement; et il est dangereux de le quitter. (…) C’est comme cela qu’on acquiert une consistance dans le monde, et non pas à rougir et à pleurer, comme quand vos Religieuses vous faisaient dîner à genoux.” “et comme il faut savoir réparer ses sottises, ne craignez pas de lui faire quelques avances; aussi bien apprendrez−vous bientôt, que si les hommes nous font les premières, nous sommes presque toujours obligées de faire les secondes.”

Vous écrivez toujours comme un enfant. Je vois bien d’où cela vient; c’est que vous dites tout ce que vous pensez, et rien de ce que vous ne pensez pas. Cela peut passer ainsi de vous à moi, qui devons n’avoir rien de caché l’une pour l’autre: mais avec tout le monde! avec votre Amant surtout! vous auriez toujours l’air d’une petite sotte.”

“Elle dénote, surtout, une faiblesse de caractère presque toujours incurable et qui s’oppose à tout; de sorte que, tandis que nous nous occuperions à former cette petite fille pour l’intrigue, nous n’en ferions qu’une
femme facile. Or, je ne connais rien de si plat que cette facilité de bêtise, qui se rend sans savoir ni comment ni pourquoi, uniquement parce qu’on l’attaque et qu’elle ne sait pas résister.

Ces sortes de femmes ne sont absolument que des machines à plaisir.

Vous me direz qu’il n’y a qu’à n’en faire que cela, et que c’est assez pour nos projets. A la bonne heure! mais n’oublions pas que de ces machines−là, tout le monde parvient bientôt à en connaître les ressorts et les moteurs; ainsi, que pour se servir de celle−ci sans danger, il faut se dépêcher, s’arrêter de bonne heure, et la briser [destruir] ensuite. À la vérité, les moyens ne nous manqueront pas pour nous en défaire, et Gercourt la fera toujours bien enfermer quand nous voudrons. Au fait, quand il ne pourra plus douter de sa déconvenue, quand elle sera bien publique et bien notoire, que nous importe qu’il se venge, pourvu qu’il ne se console pas? Ce que je dis du mari, vous le pensez sans doute de la mère; ainsi cela vaut fait.” “Si pourtant nous voyons par la suite que l’ingénuité se corrige, nous serons toujours à temps de changer de projet. (…) dans aucun cas, nos soins ne seront perdus.”

Je suis fâchée de n’avoir pas eu le temps de prendre copie de ma Lettre, pour vous édifier sur l’austérité de ma morale. Vous verriez comme je méprise les femmes assez dépravées pour avoir un Amant! Il est si commode d’être rigoriste dans ses discours! cela ne nuit jamais qu’aux autres, et ne nous gêne aucunement… Et puis je n’ignore pas que la bonne Dame a eu ses petites faiblesses comme une autre, dans son jeune temps, et je n’étais pas fâchée de l’humilier au moins dans sa conscience; cela me consolait un peu des louanges que je lui donnais contre la mienne.” Merteuil

«Madame la Présidente est allée l’après−midi dans la Bibliothèque, et elle y a pris deux Livres qu’elle a emportés dans son boudoir: mais Mademoiselle Julie assure qu’elle n’a pas lu dedans un quart d’heure dans toute la journée, et qu’elle n’a fait que lire cette Lettre, rêver et être appuyée sur sa main. Comme j’ai imaginé que Monsieur serait bien aise de savoir quels sont ces Livres−là, et que Mademoiselle Julie ne le savait pas, je me suis fait mener aujourd’hui dans la Bibliothèque, sous prétexte de la voir. Il n’y a de vide que pour deux livres: l’un est le second volume des Pensées chrétiennes et l’autre le premier d’un Livre qui a pour titre Clarisse. J’écris bien comme il y a: Monsieur saura peut−être ce que c’est. Hier au soir, Madame n’a pas soupé; elle n’a pris que du thé. Elle a sonné de bonne heure ce matin; elle a demandé ses chevaux tout de suite, et elle a été avant neuf heures aux Feuillants, où elle a entendu la Messe. Elle a voulu se confesser; mais son Confesseur était absent, et il ne reviendra pas de huit à dix jours. J’ai cru qu’il était bon de mander cela à Monsieur. Elle est rentrée ensuite, elle a déjeuné, et puis s’est mise à écrire, et elle y est restée jusqu’à près d’une heure. J’ai trouvé occasion de faire bientôt ce que Monsieur désirait le plus: car c’est moi qui ai porté les Lettres à la poste. Il n’y en avait pas pour Madame de Volanges; mais j’en envoie une à Monsieur, qui était pour M. le Président: il m’a paru que ça devait être la plus intéressante. Il y en avait une aussi pour Madame de Rosemonde; mais j’ai imaginé que Monsieur la verrait toujours bien quand il voudrait, et je l’ai laissée partir. Au reste, Monsieur saura bien tout, puisque Madame la Présidente lui écrit aussi. J’aurai par la suite toutes celles qu’il voudra; car c’est presque toujours Mademoiselle Julie qui les remet aux Gens, et elle m’a assuré que, par amitié pour moi, et puis aussi pour Monsieur, elle ferait volontiers ce que je voudrais. Elle n’a pas même voulu de l’argent que je lui ai offert: mais je pense bien que Monsieur voudra lui faire quelque petit présent; et si c’est sa volonté, et qu’il veuille m’en charger, je saurai aisément ce qui lui fera plaisir.» Azolan le Chasseur, serviteur (espion!) du Vicomte de Valmont

«Quant à ce que Monsieur me reproche d’être souvent sans argent, d’abord c’est que j’aime à me tenir proprement, comme Monsieur peut voir; et puis, il faut bien soutenir l’honneur de l’habit qu’on porte; je sais bien que je devrais peut−être un peu épargner pour la suite; mais je me confie entièrement dans la générosité de Monsieur, qui est si bon Maître. Pour ce qui est d’entrer au service de Madame de Tourvel, en restant à celui de Monsieur, j’espère que Monsieur ne l’exigera pas de moi. C’était bien différent chez Madame la Duchesse»

“Oui, la peine qui m’accable aujourd’hui reviendra demain, après−demain, toute ma vie! Mon Dieu, que je suis jeune encore, et qu’il me reste de temps à souffrir!” Tourvel

“et tandis qu’on souffre ces douleurs insupportables, sentir à chaque instant qu’on peut les faire cesser d’un mot et que ce mot soit un crime! ah! mon amie!…” “j’espérais que l’absence augmenterait mon courage et mes forces: combien je me suis trompée! il semble au contraire qu’elle ait achevé de les détruire. J’avais plus à combattre, il est vrai: mais même en résistant, tout n’était pas privation; au moins je le voyais quelquefois; souvent même, sans oser porter mes regards sur lui, je sentais les siens fixés sur moi: oui, mon amie, je les sentais, il semblait qu’ils réchauffassent mon âme; et sans passer par mes yeux, ils n’en arrivaient pas moins à mon coeur. À présent, dans ma pénible solitude, isolée de tout ce qui m’est cher, tête à tête avec mon infortune, tous les moments de ma triste existence sont marqués par mes larmes, et rien n’en adoucit l’amertume, nulle consolation ne se mêle à mes sacrifices; et ceux que j’ai faits jusqu’à présent n’ont servi qu’à me rendre plus douloureux ceux qui me restent à faire.

Hier encore, je l’ai bien vivement senti. Dans les Lettres qu’on m’a remises, il y en avait une de lui; on était encore à deux pas de moi, que je l’avais reconnue entre les autres. Je me suis levée involontairement: je tremblais, j’avais peine à cacher mon émotion; et cet état n’était pas sans plaisir. Restée seule le moment d’après, cette trompeuse douceur s’est bientôt évanouie, et ne m’a laissé qu’un sacrifice de plus à faire. En effet, pouvais−je ouvrir cette Lettre, que pourtant je brûlais de lire? Par la fatalité qui me poursuit, les consolations qui paraissent se présenter à moi ne font, au contraire, que m’imposer de nouvelles privations; et celles−ci deviennent plus cruelles encore, par l’idée que M. de Valmont les partage.”

“ah! je rougis de mes sentiments, et non de l’objet qui les cause. Quel autre que lui est plus digne de les inspirer! Cependant je ne sais pourquoi ce nom ne se présente point naturellement sous ma plume; et cette fois encore, j’ai eu besoin de réflexion pour le placer. Je reviens à lui.

Vous me mandez qu’il vous a paru vivement affecté de mon départ . Qu’a−t−il donc fait? qu’a−t−il dit? a−t−il parlé de revenir à Paris? Je vous prie de l’en détourner autant que vous pourrez. S’il m’a bien jugée, il ne doit pas m’en vouloir de cette démarche: mais il doit sentir aussi que c’est un parti pris sans retour. Un de mes plus grands tourments est de ne pas savoir ce qu’il pense. J’ai bien encore là sa Lettre…, mais vous êtes sûrement de mon avis, je ne dois pas l’ouvrir.

“Je vois bien que ce que je croyais un si grand malheur n’en est presque pas un; et il faut avouer qu’il y a bien du plaisir; de façon que je ne m’afflige presque plus. Il n’y a que l’idée de M. Danceny qui me tourmente toujours quelquefois. Mais il y a déjà tout plein de moments où je n’y songe pas du tout! aussi c’est que M. de Valmont est bien aimable!” Cecile Facile

“Il ne m’a grondée [censurou] qu’après, et encore bien doucement, et c’était d’une manière… Tout comme vous; ce qui m’a prouvé qu’il avait aussi bien de l’amitié pour moi.” “Ce qui est bien sûr, c’est que je ne pouvais pas me retenir de rire; si bien qu’une fois j’ai ri aux éclats, ce qui nous a fait bien peur; car Maman aurait pu entendre; et si elle était venue voir, qu’est−ce que je serais devenue? C’est bien pour le coup qu’elle m’aurait remise au Couvent!” “nous sommes convenus que dorénavant il viendrait seulement ouvrir la porte, et que nous irions dans sa chambre. Pour là, il n’y a rien à craindre; j’y ai déjà été hier, et actuellement que je vous écris, j’attends encore qu’il vienne. A présent, Madame, j’espère que vous ne me gronderez plus.” “je n’ai de bonheur que quand je peux ne pas penser à lui, ce qui est bien difficile; et dès que j’y pense, je redeviens chagrine tout de suite.”

“La tête m’en tournerait, je crois, sans les heureuses distractions que me donne notre commune Pupille; c’est à elle que je dois d’avoir encore à faire autre chose que des Elégies.”

“Voilà comme une seule idée fausse peut gâter le plus heureux naturel!”

“un simple cabinet, qui sépare la chambre de votre Pupille de celle de sa mère, ne pouvait lui inspirer assez de sécurité, pour la laisser se déployer à l’aise. Je m’étais donc promis de faire innocemment quelque bruit, qui pût lui causer assez de crainte pour la décider à prendre, à l’avenir, un asile plus sûr; elle m’a encore épargné ce soin.”

“celle qui ne respecte pas sa mère ne se respectera pas elle−même”

“Je l’y ai déjà reçue deux fois, et dans ce court intervalle l’écolière est devenue presque aussi savante que le maître. Oui, en vérité, je lui ai tout appris, jusqu’aux complaisances!”

“J’ai déclaré que j’étais perdu de vapeurs; j’ai annoncé aussi un peu de fièvre. Il ne m’en coûte que de parler d’une voix lente et éteinte.”

“Rien n’est plus plaisant que l’ingénuité avec laquelle elle se sert déjà du peu qu’elle sait de cette langue! elle n’imagine pas qu’on puisse parler autrement. Cette enfant est réellement séduisante! Ce contraste de la candeur naïve avec le langage de l’effronterie ne laisse pas de faire de l’effet; et, je ne sais pourquoi, il n’y a plus que les choses bizarres qui me plaisent.”

“vous voyez qu’encore aujourd’hui, je suis obligée d’emprunter la main de ma Femme de chambre. Mon malheureux rhumatisme m’a repris, il, s’est niché cette fois sur le bras droit, et je suis absolument manchote. Voilà ce que c’est, jeune et fraîche comme vous êtes, d’avoir une si vieille amie!” “Si vous m’en croyez, vous ne laisserez pas prendre consistance à ces bruits dangereux, et vous viendrez sur−le−champ les détruire par votre présence.”

“Ce sont les miettes de pain tombantes de la table du riche: celui−ci les dédaigne; mais le pauvre les recueille avidement et s’en nourrit. Or, la pauvre Présidente reçoit à présent toutes ces miettes−là: et plus elle en aura, moins elle sera pressée de se livrer à l’appétit du reste.”

“Madame de Volanges vous hait, et la haine est toujours plus clairvoyante et plus ingénieuse que l’amitié. Toute la vertu de votre vieille tante ne l’engagera pas à médire un seul instant de son cher neveu; car la vertu a aussi ses faiblesses.

C’est de quarante à cinquante ans que le désespoir de voir leur figure se flétrir, la rage de se sentir obligées d’abandonner des prétentions et des plaisirs auxquels elles tiennent encore, rendent presque toutes les femmes bégueules et acariâtres. Il leur faut ce long intervalle pour faire en entier ce grand sacrifice: mais dès qu’il est consommé, toutes se partagent en deux classes.

La plus nombreuse, celle des femmes qui n’ont eu pour elles que leur figure et leur jeunesse, tombe dans une imbécile apathie, et n’en sort plus que pour le jeu et pour quelques pratiques de dévotion; celle−là est toujours ennuyeuse, souvent grondeuse, quelquefois un peu tracassière, mais rarement méchante. On ne peut pas dire non plus que ces femmes soient ou ne soient pas sévères: sans idées et sans existence, elles répètent, sans le comprendre et indifféremment, tout ce qu’elles entendent dire, et restent par elles−mêmes absolument nulles.

L’autre classe, beaucoup plus rare, mais véritablement précieuse, est celle des femmes qui, ayant eu un caractère et n’ayant pas négligé de nourrir leur raison, savent se créer une existence, quand celle de la nature leur manque, et prennent le parti de mettre à leur esprit les parures qu’elles employaient avant pour leur figure. Celles−ci ont pour l’ordinaire le jugement très sain, et l’esprit à la fois solide, gai et gracieux. Elles remplacent les charmes séduisants par l’attachante bonté, et encore par l’enjouement dont le charme augmente en proportion de l’âge: c’est ainsi qu’elles parviennent en quelque sorte à se rapprocher de la jeunesse en s’en faisant aimer. Mais alors, loin d’être, comme vous le dites, rêches et sévères, l’habitude de l’indulgence, leurs longues réflexions sur la faiblesse humaine, et surtout les souvenirs de leur jeunesse, par lesquels seuls elles tiennent encore à la vie, les placeraient plutôt peut−être trop près de la facilité [felicité?].

“Ne me disait−il pas dernièrement que je n’aurais jamais aimé un autre que lui? Oh! pour le coup, j’ai eu besoin de toute ma prudence, pour ne pas le détromper sur−le−champ, en lui disant ce qui en était. Voilà, certes, un plaisant Monsieur, pour avoir un droit exclusif! Je conviens qu’il est bien fait et d’une assez belle figure: mais, à tout prendre, ce n’est, au fait, qu’un Manoeuvre d’amour. Enfin le moment est venu, il faut nous séparer.” “je serais donc bien maladroite, si je ne savais pas gagner un procès, où je n’ai pour adversaires que des mineures encore en bas âge, et leur vieux tuteur! Comme il ne faut pourtant rien négliger dans une affaire si importante, j’aurai effectivement avec moi deux Avocats. Ce voyage ne vous paraît−il pas gai? cependant s’il me fait gagner mon procès et perdre Belleroche, je ne regretterai pas mon temps.” “sous ce voile de l’amitié, je crois lui voir un goût très vif pour moi, et je sens que j’en prends beaucoup pour lui. Ce serait bien dommage que tant d’esprit et de délicatesse allassent se sacrifier et s’abrutir auprès de cette petite imbécile de Volanges! J’espère qu’il se trompe en croyant l’aimer: elle est si loin de le mériter! Ce n’est pas que je sois jalouse d’elle; mais c’est que ce serait un me[u]rt[r]e[il] [homicídio – andricídio!], et je veux en sauver Danceny. Je vous prie donc, Vicomte, de mettre vos soins à ce qu’il ne puisse se rapprocher de sa Cécile (comme il a encore la mauvaise habitude de la nommer). Un premier goût a toujours plus d’empire qu’on ne croit et je ne serais sûre de rien s’il la revoyait à présent; surtout pendant mon absence. À mon retour, je me charge de tout et j’en réponds.”

“C’est une chose inconcevable, ma belle amie, comme aussitôt qu’on s’éloigne, on cesse facilement de s’entendre. Tant que j’étais auprès de vous, nous n’avions jamais qu’un même sentiment, une même façon de voir; et parce que, depuis près de trois mois, je ne vous vois plus, nous ne sommes plus du même avis sur rien. Qui de nous deux a tort? sûrement vous n’hésiteriez pas sur la réponse: mais moi, plus sage, ou plus poli, je ne décide pas. Je vais seulement répondre à votre Lettre, et continuer de vous exposer ma conduite.”

“en sorte qu’après ma fantaisie passée, je la remettrai entre les bras de son Amant, pour ainsi dire, sans qu’elle se soit aperçue de rien. Est−ce donc là une marche si ordinaire?”

“de toutes les femmes que j’ai eues, c’est la seule dont j’ai vraiment plaisir à dire du mal.”

“Comment allez−vous vous charger d’un novice qui ne saura ni vous prendre, ni vous quitter, et avec qui il vous faudra tout faire? Je vous le dis sérieusement, je désapprouve ce choix, et quelque secret qu’il restât, il vous humilierait au moins à mes yeux et dans votre conscience.”

“je serai chargé de la correspondance. Que n’aurai−je pas fait pour ce Danceny? J’aurai été à la fois son ami, son confident, son rival et sa maîtresse! Encore, en ce moment, je lui rends le service de le sauver de vos liens dangereux; oui, sans doute, dangereux, car vous posséder et vous perdre, c’est acheter un moment de bonheur par une éternité de regrets.”

Mon Dieu! que cette femme est aimable et quel charme flatteur elle sait donner à l’amitié! Il semble que ce doux sentiment s’embellisse et se fortifie chez elle de tout ce qu’elle refuse à l’amour. Si vous saviez comme elle vous aime, comme elle se plaît à m’entendre lui parler de vous!… C’est là sans doute ce qui m’attache autant à elle. Quel bonheur de pouvoir vivre uniquement pour vous deux, de passer sans cesse des délices de l’amour aux douceurs de l’amitié, d’y consacrer toute mon existence, d’être en quelque sorte le point de réunion de votre attachement réciproque; et de sentir toujours que, m’occupant du bonheur de l’une, je travaillerais également à celui de l’autre! Aimez, aimez beaucoup, ma charmante amie, cette femme adorable. L’attachement que j’ai pour elle, donnez−y plus de prix encore, en le partageant. Depuis que j’ai goûté le charme de l’amitié, je désire que vous l’éprouviez à votre tour.”

“Si j’en crois ce qu’on m’a dit souvent, les hommes même n’aiment plus tant leurs femmes, quand elles les ont trop aimés avant de l’être.” Valmont (en secret) apud Cecile la Seductrice

“Comment voulez−vous que je m’intéresse à votre procès, si, perte ou gain, j’en dois également payer les frais par l’ennui de votre absence? Oh!” Danceny com sintomas de paixão pela matrona Merteuil

“N’est−ce pas cependant une véritable infidélité, une noire trahison, que de laisser votre ami loin de vous, après l’avoir accoutumé à ne pouvoir plus se passer de votre présence? Vous aurez beau consulter vos Avocats, ils ne vous trouveront pas de justification pour ce mauvais procédé: et puis, ces gens−là ne disent que des raisons, et des raisons ne suffisent pas pour répondre à des sentiments.” “Nos plus jolies femmes, celles qu’on dit les plus aimables, sont encore si loin de vous qu’elles ne pourraient en donner qu’une bien faible idée. Je crois même qu’avec des yeux exercés, plus on a cru d’abord qu’elles vous ressemblaient, plus on y trouve après de différence: elles ont beau faire, beau y mettre tout ce qu’elles savent, il leur manque toujours d’être vous, et c’est positivement là qu’est le charme.” “Et depuis quand le charme de l’amitié distrait−il donc de celui de l’amour?” “La dernière Lettre que j’ai reçue d’elle augmente et assure mon espoir, mais le retarde encore. Cependant ses motifs sont si tendres et si honnêtes que je ne puis l’en blâmer ni m’en plaindre”

“J’ai appris aujourd’hui que depuis quatre jours il y va régulièrement entendre la Messe. Dieu veuille que cela dure!”

“Quittez donc, si vous m’en croyez, ce ton de cajolerie, qui n’est plus que du jargon, dès qu’il n’est pas l’expression de l’amour. Est−ce donc là le style de l’amitié? non, mon ami, chaque sentiment a son langage qui lui convient; et se servir d’un autre, c’est déguiser la pensée que l’on exprime. Je sais bien que nos petites femmes n’entendent rien de ce qu’on peut leur dire, s’il n’est traduit, en quelque sorte, dans ce jargon d’usage; mais je croyais mériter, je l’avoue, que vous me distinguassiez d’elles. Je suis vraiment fâchée, et peut−être plus que je ne devrais l’être, que vous m’ayez si mal jugée.” “et ces femmes, à qui il manque toujours d’être moi, vous trouvez peut−être aussi que cela manque à votre Cécile! voilà pourtant où conduit un langage qui, par l’abus qu’on en fait aujourd’hui, est encore au−dessous du jargon des compliments, et ne devient plus qu’un simple protocole, auquel on ne croit pas davantage qu’au très humble serviteur!” “Mon ami, quand vous m’écrirez, que ce soit pour me dire votre façon de penser et de sentir, et non pour m’envoyer des phrases que je trouverai, sans vous, plus ou moins bien dites dans le premier Roman du jour.” “Mais vous choisissez vos Maîtresses si jeunes, que vous m’avez fait apercevoir pour la première fois que je commence à être vieille!”

“La longue défense est le seul mérite qui reste à celles qui ne résistent pas toujours; et ce que je trouverais impardonnable à toute autre qu’à un enfant comme la petite Volanges, serait de ne pas savoir fuir un danger dont elle a été suffisamment avertie par l’aveu qu’elle a fait de son amour. Vous autres hommes, vous n’avez pas d’idée de ce qu’est la vertu, et de ce qu’il en coûte pour la sacrifier! Mais pour peu qu’une femme raisonne, elle doit savoir qu’indépendamment de la faute qu’elle commet, une faiblesse est pour elle le plus grand des malheurs; et je ne conçois pas qu’aucune s’y laisse jamais prendre, quand elle peut avoir un moment pour y réfléchir.”

“Vous me sauverez des dangers de l’amour; et quoique j’aie bien su sans vous m’en défendre jusqu’à présent, je consens à en avoir de la reconnaissance, et je vous en aimerai mieux et davantage.

Sur ce, mon cher Chevalier, je prie Dieu qu’il vous ait en sa sainte et digne garde.”

“Voici le récit de ce qui s’est passé: vous pouvez être sûre qu’il est fidèle; car je vivrais 80 autres années, que je n’oublierais pas l’impression que m’a faite cette triste scène.” Rosemonde

“J’ai donc été ce matin chez mon neveu; je l’ai trouvé écrivant, et entouré de différents tas de papiers, qui avaient l’air d’être l’objet de son travail. Il s’en occupait au point que j’étais déjà au milieu de sa chambre qu’il n’avait pas encore tourné la tête pour savoir qui entrait. Aussitôt qu’il m’a aperçue, j’ai très bien remarqué qu’en se levant, il s’efforçait de composer sa figure, et peut−être même est−ce là ce qui m’y a fait faire plus d’attention. Il était, à la vérité, sans toilette et sans poudre; mais je l’ai trouvé pâle et défait, et ayant surtout la physionomie altérée. Son regard que nous avons vu si vif et si gai, était triste et abattu; enfin, soit dit entre nous, je n’aurais pas voulu que vous le vissiez ainsi: car il avait l’air très touchant et très propre, à ce que je crois, à inspirer cette tendre pitié qui est un des plus dangereux pièges de l’amour.”

“plus de dissipation serait utile à sa santé.”

“J’ai ajouté que, pour cette fois, je ne lui ferais aucune instance, aimant mes amis pour eux−mêmes; c’est à cette phrase si simple, que serrant mes mains, et parlant avec une véhémence que je ne puis vous rendre: «Oui, ma tante, m’a−t−il dit, aimez, aimez beaucoup un neveu qui vous respecte et vous chérit; et, comme vous dites, aimez−le pour lui−même. Ne vous affligez pas de son bonheur, et ne troublez, par aucun regret, l’éternelle tranquillité dont il espère jouir bientôt. Répétez−moi que vous m’aimez, que vous me pardonnez; oui, vous me pardonnerez; je connais votre bonté: mais comment espérer la même indulgence de ceux que j’ai tant offensés?»” “Mais plus j’y réfléchis, et moins je devine ce qu’il a voulu dire. Quelle est cette affaire, la plus grande de sa vie? à quel sujet me demande−t−il pardon? d’où lui est venu cet attendrissement, involontaire en me parlant? Je me suis déjà fait ces questions mille fois, sans pouvoir y répondre. Je ne vois même rien là qui ait rapport à vous: cependant, comme les yeux de l’amour sont plus clairvoyants que ceux de l’amitié, je n’ai voulu vous laisser rien ignorer de ce qui s’est passé entre mon neveu et moi.”

“si la bonté divine est infinie, l’usage en est pourtant réglé par la justice; et il peut venir un moment où le Dieu de miséricorde se change en un Dieu de vengeance.” Père Anselme

“Le bonheur de M. de Valmont ne pouvait−il arriver jamais que par mon infortune? Oh! mon indulgente amie, pardonnez−moi cette plainte. Je sais qu’il ne m’appartient pas de sonder les décrets de Dieu; mais tandis que je lui demande sans cesse, et toujours vainement, la force de vaincre mon malheureux amour, il la prodigue à celui qui ne la lui demandait pas, et me laisse, sans secours, entièrement livrée à ma faiblesse.

Ne sais−je pas que l’Enfant prodigue, à son retour, obtint plus de grâces de son père que le fils qui ne s’était jamais absenté? Quel compte avons−nous à demander à celui qui ne nous doit rien? Et quand il serait possible que nous eussions quelques droits auprès de lui, quels pourraient être les miens? Me vanterais−je d’une sagesse que déjà je ne dois qu’à Valmont? Il m’a sauvée, et j’oserais me plaindre en souffrant pour lui! Non: mes souffrances me seront chères, si son bonheur en est le prix. Sans doute il fallait qu’il revînt à son tour au Père commun. Le Dieu qui l’a formé devait chérir son ouvrage. Il n’avait point créé cet être charmant, pour n’en faire qu’un réprouvé. C’est à moi de porter la peine de mon audacieuse imprudence; ne devais−je pas sentir que, puisqu’il m’était défendu de l’aimer, je ne devais pas me permettre de le voir?

Ma faute ou mon malheur est de m’être refusée trop longtemps à cette vérité. Vous m’êtes témoin, ma chère et digne amie, que je me suis soumise à ce sacrifice, aussitôt que j’en ai reconnu la nécessité: mais, pour qu’il fût entier, il y manquait que M. de Valmont ne le partageât point. Vous avouerai−je que cette idée est à présent ce qui me tourmente le plus? Insupportable orgueil, qui adoucit les maux que nous éprouvons par ceux que nous faisons souffrir! Ah! je vaincrai ce coeur rebelle, je l’accoutumerai aux humiliations.

C’est surtout pour y parvenir que j’ai enfin consenti à recevoir Jeudi prochain la pénible visite de M. de Valmont. Là, je l’entendrai me dire lui−même que je ne lui suis plus rien, que l’impression faible et passagère que j’avais faite sur lui est entièrement effacée! Je verrai ses regards se porter sur moi, sans émotion, tandis que la crainte de déceler la mienne me fera baisser les yeux. Ces mêmes Lettres qu’il refusa si longtemps à mes demandes réitérées, je les recevrai de son indifférence; il me les remettra comme des objets inutiles, et qui ne l’intéressent plus; et mes mains tremblantes, en recevant ce dépôt honteux, sentiront qu’il leur est remis d’une main ferme et tranquille! Enfin, je le verrai s’éloigner… s’éloigner pour jamais, et mes regards, qui le suivront ne verront pas les siens se retourner sur moi!




Oui, ces Lettres qu’il ne se soucie plus de garder, je les conserverai précieusement. Je m’imposerai la honte de les relire chaque jour, jusqu’à ce que mes larmes en aient effacé les dernières traces; et les siennes, je les brûlerai comme infectées du poison dangereux qui a corrompu mon âme. Oh! qu’est−ce donc que l’amour, s’il nous fait regretter jusqu’aux dangers auxquels il nous expose; si surtout on peut craindre de le ressentir encore, même alors qu’on ne l’inspire plus! Fuyons cette passion funeste, qui ne laisse de choix qu’entre la honte et le malheur, et souvent même les réunit tous deux, et qu’au moins la prudence remplace la vertu.” “Votre précieuse amitié remplira toute mon existence. Rien ne me paraîtra difficile pour seconder les soins que vous voudrez bien vous donner. Je vous devrai ma tranquillité, mon bonheur, ma vertu

Serait−il donc vrai que la vertu augmentât le prix d’une femme, jusque dans le moment même de sa faiblesse? Mais reléguons cette idée puérile avec les contes de bonnes femmes. Ne rencontre−t−on pas presque partout une résistance plus ou moins bien feinte au premier triomphe? et ai−je trouvé nulle part le charme dont je parle? ce n’est pourtant pas non plus celui de l’amour; car enfin, si j’ai eu quelquefois auprès de cette femme étonnante des moments de faiblesse qui ressemblaient à cette passion pusillanime, j’ai toujours su les vaincre et revenir à mes principes.” “Serai−je donc, à mon âge, maîtrisé comme un écolier, par un sentiment involontaire et inconnu? Non: il faut, avant tout, le combattre et l’approfondir.” “je m’étais même accoutumé à appeler prudes celles qui ne faisaient que la moitié du chemin, par opposition à tant d’autres, dont la défense provocante ne couvre jamais qu’imparfaitement les premières avances qu’elles ont faites.” “c’est une victoire complète, achetée par une campagne pénible, et décidée par de [s]avant[es] manoeuvres. Il n’est donc pas surprenant que ce succès, dû à moi seul, m’en devienne plus précieux; et le surcroît de plaisir que j’ai éprouvé dans mon triomphe, et que je ressens encore, n’est que la douce impression du sentiment de la gloire. Je chéris cette façon de voir, qui me sauve l’humiliation de penser que je puisse dépendre en quelque manière de l’esclave même que je serais asservie; que je n’aie pas en moi seul la plénitude de mon bonheur; et que la faculté de m’en faire jouir dans toute son énergie soit réservée à telle ou telle femme, exclusivement à toute autre.” “Ce qu’il faut vous dire encore, et que j’avais appris par une Lettre interceptée suivant l’usage, c’est que la crainte et la petite humiliation d’être quittée avaient un peu dérangé la pruderie de l’austère Dévote” “J’aurais pu en choisir un plus commode: car, dans cette même chambre, il se trouvait une ottomane [poltrona acolchoada]. Mais je remarquai qu’en face d’elle était un portrait du mari; et j’eus peur, je l’avoue, qu’avec une femme si singulière, un seul regard que le hasard dirigerait de ce côté ne détruisît en un moment l’ouvrage de tant de soins. Enfin, nous restâmes seuls et j’entrai en matière.” “«Si tant de charmes, ai−je donc repris, ont fait sur mon coeur une impression si profonde, tant de vertus n’en ont pas moins fait sur mon âme. Séduit, sans doute, par le désir de m’en rapprocher, j’avais osé m’en croire digne. Je ne vous reproche point d’en avoir jugé autrement; mais je me punis de mon erreur.» Comme on gardait le silence de l’embarras, j’ai continué. — «J’ai désiré, Madame, ou de me justifier à vos yeux, ou d’obtenir de vous le pardon des torts que vous me supposez; afin de pouvoir au moins terminer, avec quelque tranquillité, des jours auxquels je n’attache plus de prix, depuis que vous avez refusé de les embellir.»

“- Mon devoir ne me permettait pas…

– Il est donc vrai que c’est moi que vous avez fui?

– Ce départ était nécessaire.

– Et que vous m’éloignez de vous?

– Je le dois.

Je n’ai pas besoin de vous dire que pendant ce court dialogue, la voix de la tendre Prude était oppressée, et que ses yeux ne s’élevaient pas jusqu’à moi.”

“«Ah! cruelle, me suis−je écrié, peut−il exister pour moi un bonheur que vous ne partagiez pas? Où donc le trouver loin de vous? Ah! jamais! jamais!» J’avoue qu’en me livrant à ce point j’avais beaucoup compté sur le secours des larmes: mais soit mauvaise disposition, soit peut−être seulement l’effet de l’attention pénible et continuelle que je mettais à tout, il me fut impossible de pleurer. Par bonheur je me ressouvins que pour subjuguer une femme tout moyen était également bon; et qu’il suffisait de l’étonner par un grand mouvement, pour que l’impression en restât profonde et favorable. Je suppléai donc, par la terreur, à la sensibilité qui se trouvait en défaut; et pour cela, changeant seulement l’inflexion de ma voix, et gardant la même posture: «Oui, continuai−je, j’en fais le serment à vos pieds, vous posséder ou mourir.» En prononçant ces dernières paroles, nos regards se rencontrèrent. Je ne sais ce que la timide personne vit ou crut voir dans les miens, mais elle se leva d’un air effrayé, et s’échappa de mes bras dont je l’avais entourée. Il est vrai que je ne fis rien pour la retenir; car j’avais remarqué plusieurs fois que les scènes de désespoir menées trop vivement tombaient dans le ridicule dès qu’elles devenaient longues, ou ne laissaient que des ressources vraiment tragiques et que j’étais fort éloigné de vouloir prendre. Cependant, tandis qu’elle se dérobait à moi, j’ajoutai d’un ton bas et sinistre, mais de façon qu’elle pût m’entendre: «Hé bien! la mort!»” “comme en amour rien ne se finit que de très près, et que nous étions alors assez loin l’un de l’autre, il fallait avant tout se rapprocher. Ce fut pour y parvenir que je passai le plus tôt possible à une apparente tranquillité, propre à calmer les effets de cet état violent, sans en affaiblir l’impression.” “«Pardon, Madame; peu accoutumé aux orages des passions, je sais mal en réprimer les mouvements. Si j’ai eu tort de m’y livrer, songez au moins que c’est pour la dernière fois. Ah! calmez−vous, calmez−vous, je vous en conjure.» Et pendant ce long discours je me rapprochais insensiblement. − «Si vous voulez que je me calme, répondit la Belle effarouchée, vous−même soyez donc plus tranquille. — Hé bien! oui, je vous le promets»” “<Mais, repris−je aussitôt d’un air égaré, je suis venu, n’est−il pas vrai, pour vous rendre vos Lettres? De grâce, daignez les reprendre. Ce douloureux sacrifice me reste à faire: ne me laissez rien qui puisse affaiblir mon courage.> Et tirant de ma poche le précieux recueil: «Le voilà, dis−je, ce dépôt trompeur des assurances de votre amitié! Il m’attachait à la vie, reprenez−le. Donnez ainsi vous−même le signal qui doit me séparer de vous pour jamais.»” “Là, je la pressai de mes bras, sans qu’elle se défendît aucunement; et jugeant par cet oubli des bienséances combien l’émotion était forte et puissante: «Femme adorable, lui dis−je en risquant l’enthousiasme, vous n’avez pas d’idée de l’amour que vous inspirez; vous ne saurez jamais à quel point vous fûtes adorée, et de combien ce sentiment m’était plus cher que l’existence! Puissent tous vos jours être fortunés et tranquilles; puissent−ils s’embellir de tout le bonheur dont vous m’avez privé! Payez au moins ce voeu sincère par un regret, par une larme; et croyez que le dernier de mes sacrifices ne sera pas le plus pénible à mon crieur. Adieu.»”

“− Il faut vous fuir, il le faut!

− Non! s’écria−t−elle…

A ce dernier mot, elle se précipita ou plutôt tomba évanouie entre mes bras.

Comme je doutais encore d’un si heureux succès, je feignis un grand effroi; mais tout en m’effrayant, je la conduisais, ou la portais vers le lieu précédemment désigné pour le champ de ma gloire; et en effet elle ne revint à elle que soumise et déjà livrée à son heureux vainqueur.

“je crains, à présent, de m’être amolli comme Annibal dans les délices de Capoue.” (*)

(*) explicação wikipedianesca (provérbio francês):

Capoue accueille Hannibal et le soutient contre Rome dans la bataille de Zama. Après la défaite d’Hannibal, Capoue est reprise par Rome en 211 av. J.-C. et punie par la confiscation de son territoire et la privation de la citoyenneté.

Hannibal a été accusé de «s’être endormi dans les délices de Capoue», et l’expression a traversé les âges sous forme de proverbe, signifiant: «perdre un temps précieux, qui pourrait être avantageusement employé, et/ou s’amollir dans la facilité au lieu de se préparer à la lutte». En réalité, Hannibal, qui manquait de matériel de siège [montaria], ne pouvait pas marcher sur Rome.”

CARÍCIA DE EX-NAMORADO: “Je m’attendais bien qu’un si grand événement ne se passerait pas sans les larmes et le désespoir d’usage; et si je remarquai d’abord un peu plus de confusion, et une sorte de recueillement, j’attribuai l’un et l’autre à l’état de Prude: aussi, sans m’occuper de ces légères différences que je croyais purement locales, je suivais simplement la grande route des consolations, bien persuadé que, comme il arrive d’ordinaire, les sensations aideraient le sentiment et qu’une seule action ferait plus que tous les discours, que pourtant je ne négligeais pas. Mais je trouvai une résistance vraiment effrayante, moins encore par son excès que par la forme sous laquelle elle se montrait.

Figurez−vous une femme assise, d’une raideur immobile, et d’une figure invariable; n’ayant l’air ni de penser, ni d’écouter, ni d’entendre; dont les yeux fixes laissent échapper des larmes assez continues, mais qui coulent sans effort. Telle était Madame de Tourvel, pendant mes discours; mais si j’essayais de ramener son attention vers moi par une caresse, par le geste même le plus innocent, à cette apparente apathie succédaient aussitôt la terreur, la suffocation, les convulsions, les sanglots, et quelques cris par intervalles, mais sans un mot articulé.

Ces crises revinrent plusieurs fois, et toujours plus fortes; la dernière même fut si violente que j’en fus entièrement découragé et craignis un moment d’avoir remporté une victoire inutile. Je me rabattis sur les lieux communs d‘usage; et dans le nombre se trouva celui−ci: «Et vous êtes dans le désespoir, parce que vous avez fait mon bonheur?» A ce mot, l’adorable femme se tourna vers moi; et sa figure, quoique encore un peu égarée, avait pourtant déjà repris son expression céleste. «Votre bonheur», me dit−elle. Vous devinez ma réponse. − Vous êtes donc heureux?» Je redoublai les protestations. «Et heureux par moi!» J’ajoutai les louanges et les tendres propos. Tandis que je parlais, tous ses membres s’assouplirent; elle retomba avec mollesse, appuyée sur son fauteuil; et m’abandonnant une main que j’avais osé prendre: «Je sens, dit−elle, que cette idée me console et me soulage.»

SUCCÈS ENFIN!Aussi quand je voulus tenter un second succès, j’éprouvai d’abord quelque résistance, et ce qui s’était passé auparavant me rendait circonspect: mais ayant appelé à mon secours cette même idée de mon bonheur, j’en ressentis bientôt les favorables effets: «Vous avez raison, me dit la tendre personne; je ne puis plus supporter mon existence qu’autant qu’elle servira à vous rendre heureux. Je m’y consacre tout entière: dès ce moment je me donne à vous, et vous n’éprouverez de ma part ni refus, ni regrets.» Ce fut avec cette candeur naïve ou sublime qu’elle me livra sa personne et ses charmes, et qu’elle augmenta mon bonheur en le partageant. L’ivresse fut complète et réciproque; et, pour la première fois, la mienne survécut au plaisir. Je ne sortis de ses bras que pour tomber à ses genoux, pour lui jurer un amour éternel; et, il faut tout avouer, je pensais ce que je disais. Enfin, même après nous être séparés, son idée ne me quittait point, et j’ai eu besoin de me travailler pour m’en distraire.

Ah! pourquoi n’êtes−vous pas ici, pour balancer au moins le charme de l’action par celui de la récompense? Mais je ne perdrai rien pour attendre, n’est−il pas vrai? et j’espère pouvoir regarder, comme convenu entre nous, l’heureux arrangement que je vous ai proposé dans ma dernière Lettre. Vous voyez que je m’exécute, et que, comme je vous l’ai promis, mes affaires seront assez avancées pour pouvoir vous donner une partie de mon temps. Dépêchez−vous donc de renvoyer votre pesant Belleroche et laissez là le doucereux Danceny, pour ne vous occuper que de moi. Mais que faites−vous donc tant à cette campagne que vous ne me répondez seulement pas? Savez−vous que je vous gronderais volontiers? Mais le bonheur porte à l’indulgence. Et puis je n’oublie pas qu’en me replaçant au nombre de vos soupirants je dois me soumettre, de nouveau, à vos petites fantaisies. Souvenez−vous cependant que le nouvel Amant ne veut rien perdre des anciens droits de l’ami.

Adieu, comme autrefois… Oui, adieu, mon Ange! Je t’envoie tous les baisers de l’amour.

P.S: Savez−vous que Prévan, au bout de son mois de prison, a été obligé de quitter son Corps? C’est aujourd’hui la nouvelle de tout Paris. En vérité, le voilà cruellement puni d’un tort qu’il n’a pas eu, et votre succès est complet!

Paris, ce 29 octobre 17**.”

“On est forcé de reconnaître véritablement là un coup de la Providence, qui, en touchant l’un, a aussi sauvé l’autre. Oui, ma chère Belle, Dieu, qui ne voulait que vous éprouver, vous a secourue au moment où vos forces étaient épuisées; et malgré votre petit murmure, vous avez, je crois, quelques actions de grâces à lui rendre. Ce n’est pas que je ne sente fort bien qu’il vous eût été plus agréable que cette résolution vous fût venue la première, et que celle de Valmont n’en eût été que la suite; il semble même, humainement parlant, que les droits de notre sexe en eussent été mieux conservés, et nous ne voulons en perdre aucun!” Rosemonde

En vain: “Inutilement vous aurais−je parlé plus tôt avec cette apparente sévérité: l’amour est un sentiment indépendant, que la prudence peut faire éviter, mais qu’elle ne saurait vaincre; et qui, une fois né, ne meurt que de sa belle mort ou du défaut absolu d’espoir. C’est ce dernier cas, dans lequel vous êtes, qui me rend le courage et le droit de vous dire librement mon avis. Il est cruel d’effrayer un malade désespéré, qui n’est plus susceptible que de consolations et de palliatifs: mais il est sage d’éclairer un convalescent sur les dangers qu’il a courus, pour lui inspirer la prudence dont il a besoin, et la soumission aux conseils qui peuvent encore lui être nécessaires.

“les petites incommodités que vous ressentez à présent, et qui peut−être exigent quelques remèdes, ne sont pourtant rien en comparaison de la maladie effrayante dont voilà la guérison assurée. Ensuite comme votre amie, comme l’amie d’une femme raisonnable et vertueuse, je me permettrai d’ajouter que cette passion, qui vous avait subjuguée, déjà si malheureuse par elle−même, le devenait encore plus par son objet. Si j’en crois ce qu’on m’en dit, mon neveu, que j’avoue aimer peut−être avec faiblesse, et qui réunit en effet beaucoup de qualités louables à beaucoup d’agréments, n’est ni sans danger pour les femmes, ni sans torts vis−à−vis d’elles, et met presque un prix égal à les séduire et à les perdre. Je crois bien que vous l’auriez converti. Jamais personne sans doute n’en fut plus digne: mais tant d’autres s’en sont flattées de même, dont l’espoir a été déçu, que j’aime bien mieux que vous n’en soyez pas réduite à cette ressource.

Considérez à présent, ma chère Belle, qu’au lieu de tant de dangers que vous auriez eu à courir, vous aurez, outre le repos de votre conscience et votre propre tranquillité, la satisfaction d’avoir été la principale cause de l’heureux retour de Valmont.”

Vertu perdue: “venez surtout vous réjouir avec votre tendre mère d’avoir si heureusement tenu la parole que vous lui aviez donnée, de ne rien faire qui ne fût digne d’elle et de vous!” 30 octobre

“vous jugerez facilement combien votre proposition a dû me paraître ridicule. Qui, moi! je sacrifierais un goût, et encore un goût nouveau, pour m’occuper de vous? Et pour m’en occuper comment? en attendant à mon tour, et en esclave soumise, les sublimes faveurs de votre Hautesse. Quand, par exemple, vous voudrez vous distraire un moment de ce charme inconnu que l’adorable, la céleste Madame de Tourvel vous a fait seule éprouver, ou quand vous craindrez de compromettre, auprès de l’attachante Cécile, l’idée supérieure que vous êtes bien aise qu’elle conserve de vous: alors descendant jusqu’à moi, vous y viendrez chercher des plaisirs, moins vifs à la vérité, mais sans conséquence; et vos précieuses bontés, quoique un peu rares, suffiront de reste à mon bonheur!” A sacana Merteuil

“Certes, vous êtes riche en bonne opinion de vous−même: mais apparemment je ne le suis pas en modestie; car j’ai beau me regarder, je ne peux pas me trouver déchue jusque−là. C’est peut−être un tort que j’ai; mais je vous préviens que j’en ai beaucoup d’autres encore.” “J’ai surtout celui de croire que l’écolier, le doucereux Danceny, uniquement occupé de moi, me sacrifiant, sans s’en faire un mérite, une première passion, avant même qu’elle ait été satisfaite, et m’aimant enfin comme on aime à son âge, pourrait, malgré ses vingt ans, travailler plus efficacement que vous à mon bonheur et à mes plaisirs. Je me permettrai même d’ajouter que, s’il me venait en fantaisie de lui donner un adjoint, ce ne serait pas vous, au moins pour le moment.aussi éloignés l’un de l’autre par notre façon de penser, nous ne pouvons nous rapprocher d’aucune manière; et je crains qu’il ne me faille beaucoup de temps, mais beaucoup, avant de changer de sentiment. Quand je serai corrigée, je vous promets de vous avertir. Jusque−là croyez−moi, faites d’autres arrangements, et gardez vos baisers, vous avez tant à les placer mieux!…Adieu, comme autrefois, dites−vous? Mais autrefois, ce me semble, vous faisiez un peu plus de cas de moi; vous ne m’aviez pas destinée tout à fait aux troisièmes Rôles; et surtout vous vouliez bien attendre que j’eusse dit oui, avant d’être sûr de mon consentement. Trouvez donc bon qu’au lieu de vous dire aussi adieu comme autrefois, je vous dise adieu comme à présent.

Votre servante, Monsieur le Vicomte.

Du Château de …, ce 31 octobre 17**.”

“Je n’ai reçu qu’hier, Madame, votre tardive réponse. Elle m’aurait tuée sur−le−champ, si j’avais eu encore mon existence en moi: mais un autre en est possesseur, et cet autre est M. de Valmont. Vous voyez que je ne vous cache rien. Si vous devez ne me plus trouver digne de votre amitié, je crains moins encore de la perdre que de la surprendre. Tout ce que je puis vous dire, c’est que, placée par M. de Valmont entre sa mort ou son bonheur, je me suis décidée pour ce dernier parti. Je ne m’en vante, ni ne m’en accuse: je dis simplement ce qui est.“quand je crains de ne pouvoir plus supporter mes tourments, je me dis: Valmont est heureux; et tout disparaît devant cette idée, ou plutôt elle change tout en plaisirs.” “Comme je n’aurai vécu que pour lui, ce sera en lui que reposera ma mémoire; et s’il est forcé de reconnaître que je l’aimais, je serai suffisamment justifiée.

“Il me semble même que cette marche franche et libre, quand elle est fondée sur une ancienne liaison, est bien préférable à l’insipide cajolerie qui affadit si souvent l’amour.” “je n’imagine pas que vous ayez pu penser sérieusement qu’il existât une femme dans le monde qui me parût préférable à vous” “ne savez−vous pas que ces mots, plus souvent pris au hasard que par réflexion, expriment moins le cas que l’on fait de la personne que la situation dans laquelle on se trouve quand on en parle? Et si, dans le moment même où j’étais si vivement affecté ou par l’une ou par l’autre, je ne vous en désirais pourtant pas moins; si je vous donnais une préférence marquée sur toutes deux, puisque enfin je ne pouvais renouveler notre première liaison qu’au préjudice des deux autres, je ne crois pas qu’il y ait là si grand sujet de reproche.” “Pour la petite Cécile, je crois bien inutile de vous en parler. Vous n’avez pas oublié que c’est à votre demande que je me suis chargé de cette enfant, et je n’attends que votre congé pour m’en défaire. J’ai pu remarquer son ingénuité et sa fraîcheur; j’ai pu même la croire un moment attachante, parce que, plus ou moins, on se complaît toujours un peu dans son ouvrage: mais assurément, elle n’a assez de consistance en aucun genre pour fixer en rien l’attention.” “pourquoi semblez−vous m’annoncer que toute correspondance va être rompue entre nous? Est−ce pour me punir de n’avoir pas deviné ce qui était contre toute vraisemblance? ou me soupçonnez−vous de vous avoir affligée volontairement? Non, je connais trop bien votre coeur, pour croire qu’il pense ainsi du mien. Aussi la peine que m’a faite votre lettre est−elle bien moins relative à moi qu’à vous−même!” “Hé! quelle femme vraiment délicate et sensible n’a pas trouvé l’infortune dans ce même sentiment qui lui promettait tant de bonheur! Les hommes savent−ils apprécier la femme qu’ils possèdent?”

Ne croyez pas, ma chère Enfant, que leur amour soit semblable au nôtre. Ils éprouvent bien la même ivresse; souvent même ils y mettent plus d’emportement: mais ils ne connaissent pas cet empressement inquiet, cette sollicitude délicate, qui produit en nous ces soins tendres et continus, et dont l’unique but est toujours l’objet aimé. L’homme jouit du bonheur qu’il ressent, et la femme de celui qu’elle procure. Cette différence, si essentielle et si peu remarquée, influe pourtant, d’une manière bien sensible, sur la totalité de leur conduite respective. Le plaisir de l’un est de satisfaire des désirs, celui de l’autre est surtout de les faire naître. Plaire n’est pour lui qu’un moyen de succès; tandis que pour elle, c’est le succès lui−même. Et la coquetterie, si souvent reprochée aux femmes, n’est autre chose que l’abus de cette façon de sentir, et par là même en prouve la réalité. Enfin, ce goût exclusif, qui caractérise particulièrement l’amour, n’est dans l’homme qu’une préférence, qui sert, au plus, à augmenter un plaisir, qu’un autre objet affaiblirait peut−être, mais ne détruirait pas; tandis que dans les femmes, c’est un sentiment profond, qui non seulement anéantit tout désir étranger, mais qui, plus fort que la nature, et soustrait à son empire, ne leur laisse éprouver que répugnance et dégoût, là même où semble devoir naître la volupté.”

“Dans les maux sans remèdes, les conseils ne peuvent plus porter que sur le régime. Ce que je vous demande seulement, c’est de vous souvenir que plaindre un malade, ce n’est pas le blâmer. Eh! qui sommes−nous, pour nous blâmer les uns les autres? Laissons le droit de juger à celui−là seul qui lit dans les coeurs; et j’ose même croire qu’à ses yeux paternels une foule de vertus peut racheter une faiblesse.”

TEORIA DA ASSIMETRIA E IMPASSE ETERNO: “N’avez−vous pas encore remarqué que le plaisir, qui est bien en effet l’unique mobile de la réunion des deux sexes, ne suffit pourtant pas pour former une liaison entre eux? et que, s’il est précédé du désir qui rapproche, il n’est pas moins suivi du dégoût qui repousse? C’est une loi de la nature, que l’amour seul peut changer; et de l’amour, en a−t−on quand on veut? Il en faut pourtant toujours: et cela serait vraiment fort embarrassant, si on ne s’était pas aperçu qu’heureusement il suffisait qu’il en existât d’un côté. La difficulté est devenue par là de moitié moindre, et même sans qu’il y ait eu beaucoup à perdre; en effet, l’un jouit du bonheur d’aimer, l’autre de celui de plaire, un peu moins vif à la vérité, mais auquel se joint le plaisir de tromper, ce qui fait équilibre; et tout s’arrange. Mais dites−moi, Vicomte, qui de nous deux se chargera de tromper l’autre?” “je sens à merveille que pour une seule soirée nous nous suffirons de reste; et je ne doute même pas que nous ne sachions assez l’embellir pour ne la voir finir qu’à regret. Mais n’oublions pas que ce regret est nécessaire au bonheur; et quelque douce que soit notre illusion, n’allons pas croire qu’elle puisse être durable.” “ou je me trompe, ou la tendre Dévote doit beaucoup écrire: car que ferait−elle quand elle est seule? elle n’a sûrement pas le bon esprit de se distraire.” “Il en est déjà à se battre les flancs pour m’aimer; c’est au point qu’à présent je mets autant de malice que de prudence dans les caresses dont je le surcharge. Mais, en même temps, vous voyez bien que ce ne serait pas là un sacrifice à vous faire! une infidélité réciproque rendra le charme bien plus piquant.“Mais pourquoi s’occuper encore d’un bonheur qui ne peut revenir? Non, quoi que vous en disiez, c’est un retour impossible. D’abord, j’exigerais des sacrifices que sûrement vous ne pourriez ou ne voudriez pas me faire, et qu’il se peut bien que je ne mérite pas

“j’admirerai, surtout, cette indulgence de la vertu, qui ne connaît nos faiblesses que pour y compatir [consolar], et dont le charme puissant conserve sur les coeurs un empire si doux et si fort, même à côté du charme de l’amour.” “Et comment ne croirais−je pas à un bonheur parfait, quand je l’éprouve en ce moment? Oui, si les hommes sont tels que vous le dites, il faut les fuir, ils sont haïssables; mais qu’alors Valmont est loin de leur ressembler! S’il a comme eux cette violence de passion, que vous nommez emportement, combien n’est−elle pas surpassée en lui par l’excès de sa délicatesse! Ô mon amie! vous me parlez de partager mes peines, jouissez donc de mon bonheur; je le dois à l’amour, et de combien encore l’objet en augmente le prix! Vous aimez votre neveu, dites−vous, peut−être avec faiblesse? ah! si vous le connaissiez comme moi! je l’aime avec idolâtrie, et bien moins encore qu’il ne le mérite. Il a pu sans doute être entraîné dans quelques erreurs, il en convient lui−même; mais qui jamais connut comme lui le véritable amour?” “depuis qu’il peut se livrer sans contrainte aux mouvements de son coeur, il semble deviner tous les désirs du mien. Qui sait si nous n’étions pas nés l’un pour l’autre, si ce bonheur ne m’était pas réservé, d’être nécessaire au sien! Ah! si c’est une illusion, que je meure donc avant qu’elle finisse. Mais non; je veux vivre pour le chérir, pour l’adorer. Pourquoi cesserait−il de m’aimer? Quelle autre femme rendrait−il plus heureuse que moi? Et, je le sens par moi−même, ce bonheur qu’on fait naître, est le plus fort lien, le seul qui attache véritablement. Oui, c’est ce sentiment délicieux qui ennoblit l’amour, qui le purifie en quelque sorte, et le rend vraiment digne d’une âme tendre et généreuse, telle que celle de Valmont.”

“songez donc qu’il n’y a guère que huit jours que je jouis du fruit de trois mois de soins. Je me suis si souvent arrêté davantage à ce qui valait bien moins, et ne m’avait pas tant coûté!…” “D’abord, pour beaucoup de femmes, le plaisir est toujours le plaisir et n’est jamais que cela; et auprès de celles−là, de quelque titre qu’on nous décore, nous ne sommes jamais que des facteurs, de simples commissionnaires, dont l’activité fait tout le mérite, et parmi lesquels, celui qui fait le plus est toujours celui qui fait le mieux.

Dans une autre classe, peut−être la plus nombreuse aujourd’hui, la célébrité de l’Amant, le plaisir de l’avoir enlevé à une rivale, la crainte de se le voir enlever à son tour, occupent les femmes presque tout entières: nous entrons bien, plus ou moins, pour quelque chose dans l’espèce de bonheur dont elles jouissent; mais il tient plus aux circonstances qu’à la personne. Il leur vient par nous, et non de nous.” “j’ai vue une femme sortir du plaisir tout éplorée [desmanchada em lágrimas], et le moment d’après retrouver la volupté dans un mot qui répondait à son âme.” “Mais de ce que l’esprit est occupé, s’ensuit−il que le coeur soit esclave? non, sans doute. Aussi le prix que je ne me défends pas de mettre à cette aventure ne m’empêchera pas d’en courir d’autres, ou même de la sacrifier à de plus agréables.” “Sa mère la ramène à la Ville dans trois jours; et moi, depuis hier, j’ai su assurer mes communications: quelque argent au portier et quelques fleurettes à sa femme en ont fait l’affaire. Concevez−vous que Danceny n’ait pas su trouver ce moyen si simple? et puis, qu’on dise que l’amour rend ingénieux! il abrutit au contraire ceux qu’il domine. Et je ne saurais pas m’en défendre! Ah! soyez tranquille. Déjà je vais, sous peu de jours, affaiblir, en la partageant, l’impression peut−être trop vive que j’ai éprouvée; et si un simple partage ne suffit pas, je les multiplierai.” “Il est actuellement dans la grande inquiétude de savoir s’il sera reçu chez Madame de Volanges; je le calme le plus que je peux, en l’assurant que, de façon ou d’autre, je ferai son bonheur au premier jour: et en attendant, je continue à me charger de la correspondance, qu’il veut reprendre à l’arrivée de sa Cécile. J’ai déjà six Lettres de lui, et j’en aurai bien encore une ou deux avant l’heureux jour. Il faut que ce garçon−là soit bien désoeuvré!” “Ai−je donc jamais cessé d’être constant pour vous? Nos liens ont été dénoués, et non pas rompu; notre prétendue rupture ne fut qu’une erreur de notre imagination: nos sentiments, nos intérêts n’en sont pas moins restés unis. Semblable au voyageur, qui revient détrompé, je reconnaîtrai comme lui que j’avais laissé le bonheur pour courir après l’espérance et je dirai comme d’Harcourt:

Plus je vis d’étrangers, plus j’aimai ma patrie (Du Belloi, Tragédie du Siège de Calais)

Mais eu vejo do estrangeiro, mais saudade me dá da minha pátria!

Ne combattez donc plus l’idée ou plutôt le sentiment qui vous ramène à moi; et après avoir essayé de tous les plaisirs dans nos courses différentes, jouissons du bonheur de sentir qu’aucun d’eux n’est comparable à celui que nous avions éprouvé, et que nous retrouverons plus délicieux encore!

Adieu, ma charmante amie. Je consens à attendre votre retour: mais pressez−le donc, et n’oubliez pas combien je le désire.

Paris, ce 8 novembre 17**.”

“En vérité, Vicomte, vous êtes bien comme les enfants, devant qui il ne faut rien dire, et à qui on ne peut rien montrer qu’ils ne veuillent s’en emparer aussitôt! Une simple idée qui me vient, à laquelle même je vous avertis que je ne veux pas m’arrêter, parce que je vous en parle, vous en abusez pour y ramener mon attention; pour m’y fixer, quand je cherche à m’en distraire; et me faire, en quelque sorte, partager malgré moi vos désirs étourdis! Est−il donc généreux à vous de me laisser supporter seule tout le fardeau de la prudence? Je vous le redis, et me le répète plus souvent encore, l’arrangement que vous me proposez est réellement impossible. Quand vous y mettriez toute la générosité que vous me montrez en ce moment, croyez−vous que je n’aie pas aussi ma délicatesse, et que je veuille accepter des sacrifices qui nuiraient à votre bonheur?

C’est de l’amour, ou il n’en exista jamais: vous le niez bien de cent façons; mais vous le prouvez de mille. Qu’est−ce, par exemple, que ce subterfuge dont vous vous servez vis−à−vis de vous−même (car je vous crois sincère avec moi), qui vous fait rapporter à l’envie d’observer le désir que vous ne pouvez ni cacher ni combattre, de garder cette femme? Ne dirait−on pas que jamais vous n’en avez rendu une autre heureuse, parfaitement heureuse? Ah! si vous en doutez, vous avez bien peu de mémoire! Mais non, ce n’est pas cela. Tout simplement votre coeur abuse votre esprit, et le fait se payer de mauvaises raisons: mais moi, qui ai un grand intérêt à ne pas m’y tromper, je ne suis pas si facile à contenter.” “En effet, ce n’est plus l’adorable, la céleste Madame de Tourvel, mais c’est une femme étonnante, une femme délicate et sensible, et cela, à l’exclusion de toutes les autres; une femme rare enfin, et telle qu’on n’en rencontrerait pas une seconde. (…) Ou ce sont là, Vicomte, des symptômes assurés d’amour, ou il faut renoncer à en trouver aucun.” “Soyez assuré que, pour cette fois, je vous parle sans humeur. Je me suis promis de n’en plus prendre; j’ai trop bien reconnu qu’elle pouvait devenir un piège dangereux. Croyez−moi, ne soyons qu’amis, et restons−en là. Sachez−moi gré seulement de mon courage à me défendre: oui, de mon courage; car il en faut quelquefois, même pour ne pas prendre un parti qu’on sent être mauvais.” La courage de la vertu!

“J’exigerais donc, voyez la cruauté! que cette rare, cette étonnante Madame de Tourvel ne fût plus pour vous qu’une femme ordinaire, une femme telle qu’elle est seulement: car il ne faut pas s’y tromper; ce charme qu’on croit trouver dans les autres, c’est en nous qu’il existe; et c’est l’amour seul qui embellit tant l’objet aimé.

Ce n’est pas tout encore, je serais capricieuse. Ce sacrifice de la petite Cécile, que vous m’offrez de si bonne grâce, je ne m’en soucierais pas du tout. Je vous demanderais au contraire de continuer ce pénible service, jusqu’à nouvel ordre de ma part; soit que j’aimasse à abuser ainsi de mon empire; soit que, plus indulgente ou plus juste, il me suffît de disposer de vos sentiments, sans vouloir contrarier vos plaisirs. Quoi qu’il en soit, je voudrais être obéie; et mes ordres seraient bien rigoureux!

Il est vrai qu’alors je me croirais obligée de vous remercier; que sait−on? peut−être même de vous récompenser. Sûrement, par exemple, j’abrégerais une absence qui me deviendrait insupportable. Je vous reverrais enfin, Vicomte, et je vous reverrais… comment?… Mais vous vous souvenez que ceci n’est plus qu’une conversation, un simple récit d’un projet impossible, et je ne veux pas l’oublier toute seule…“Adieu, Vicomte, écrivez−moi souvent: le détail de vos plaisirs me dédommagera au moins en partie des ennuis que j’éprouve.

Du Château de …, ce 11 novembre 17**.”

“Ah! Dieu, quand je songe qu’à ma dernière Lettre c’était l’excès de mon bonheur qui m’empêchait de la continuer! C’est celui de mon désespoir qui m’accable à présent; qui ne me laisse de force que pour sentir mes douleurs, et m’ôte celle de les exprimer.

Valmont… Valmont ne m’aime plus, il ne m’a jamais aimée. L’amour ne s’en va pas ainsi. Il me trompe, il me trahit, il m’outrage. Tout ce qu’on peut réunir d’infortunes, d’humiliations, je les éprouve, et c’est de lui qu’elles me viennent.” “C’était hier; je devais pour la première fois, depuis mon retour, souper hors de chez moi. Valmont vint me voir à cinq heures; jamais il ne m’avait paru si tendre. Il me fit connaître que mon projet de sortir le contrariait, et vous jugez que j’eus bientôt celui de rester chez moi. Cependant, deux heures après, et tout à coup, son air et son ton changèrent sensiblement. Je ne sais s’il me sera échappé quelque chose qui aura pu lui déplaire; quoi qu’il en soit, peu de temps après, il prétendit se rappeler une affaire qui l’obligeait de me quitter, et il s’en alla” “j’aperçus à quatre pas devant moi, et dans la file à côté de la mienne, la voiture de Valmont. Le coeur me battit aussitôt, mais ce n’était pas de crainte; et la seule idée qui m’occupait était le désir que ma voiture avançât. Au lieu de cela, ce fut la sienne qui fut forcée de reculer, et qui se trouva à côté de la mienne. Je m’avançai sur−le−champ: quel fut mon étonnement de trouver à ses côtés une fille, bien connue pour telle! Je me retirai, comme vous pouvez penser, et c’en était déjà bien assez pour navrer mon coeur: mais ce que vous aurez peine à croire, c’est que cette même fille apparemment instruite par une odieuse confidence, n’a pas quitté la portière de la voiture, ni cessé de me regarder, avec des éclats de rire à faire scène.

voir, voire, la voiture volontiers

“le public, dont l’opinion sépare encore, par un immense intervalle, la femme faible de la femme dépravée.”

“cet événement a pour première cause le charme tout−puissant que j’éprouve auprès de vous. Ce fut lui qui me fit oublier trop longtemps une affaire importante, et qui ne pouvait se remettre. Je vous quittai trop tard, et ne trouvai plus la personne que j’allais chercher. J’espérais la rejoindre à l’Opéra, et ma démarche fut pareillement infructueuse. Émilie que j’y trouvai, que j’ai connue dans un temps où j’étais bien loin de connaître ni vous ni l’amour. Émilie n’avait pas sa voiture, et me demanda de la remettre chez elle à quatre pas de là. Je n’y vis aucune conséquence, et j’y consentis. Mais ce fut alors que je vous rencontrai; et je sentis sur−le−champ que vous seriez portée à me juger coupable.

La crainte de vous déplaire ou de vous affliger est si puissante sur moi, qu’elle dut être et fut en effet bientôt remarquée. J’avoue même qu’elle me fit tenter d’engager cette fille à ne pas se montrer; cette précaution de la délicatesse a tourné contre l’amour. Accoutumée, comme toutes celles de son état, à n’être sûre d’un empire toujours usurpé que par l’abus qu’elles se permettent d’en faire. Émilie se garda bien d’en laisser échapper une occasion si éclatante. Plus elle voyait mon embarras s’accroître, plus elle affectait de se montrer; et sa folle gaieté, dont je rougis que vous ayez pu un moment vous croire l’objet, n’avait de cause que la peine cruelle que je ressentais, qui elle−même venait encore de mon respect et de mon amour.” “Eh! que peut−il y avoir de commun entre une surprise des sens, entre un moment d’oubli de soi−même, que suivent bientôt la honte et le regret, et un sentiment pur, qui ne peut naître que dans une âme délicate et s’y soutenir que par l’estime, et dont enfin le bonheur est le fruit! Ah! ne profanez pas ainsi l’amour. Craignez surtout de vous profaner vous−même, en réunissant sous un même point de vue ce qui jamais ne peut se confondre. Laissez les femmes viles et dégradées redouter une rivalité qu’elles sentent malgré elles pouvoir s’établir, et éprouver les tourments d’une jalousie également cruelle et humiliante” “Ah! Madame, me livrerez−vous aujourd’hui à un désespoir éternel?”

“J’ai déjà réussi. Je viens de recevoir un second billet, toujours bien rigoureux, et qui confirme l’éternelle rupture, comme cela devait être; mais dont le ton n’est pourtant plus le même. Surtout, on ne veut plus me voir ce parti pris y est annoncé quatre fois de la manière la plus irrévocable. J’en ai conclu qu’il n’y avait pas un moment à perdre pour me présenter. J’ai déjà envoyé mon Chasseur, pour s’emparer du Suisse; et dans un moment, j’irai moi−même faire signer mon pardon: car dans les torts de cette espèce, il n’y a qu’une seule formule qui porte absolution générale, et celle−là ne s’expédie qu’en présence.

Oui, tout est oublié, pardonné; disons mieux, tout est réparé. À cet état de douleur et d’angoisse, ont succédé le calme et les délices. Ô joie de mon coeur, comment vous exprimer! Valmont est innocent; on n’est point coupable avec autant d’amour. Ces torts graves, offensants que je lui reprochais avec tant d’amertume, il ne les avait pas et si, sur un seul point, j’ai eu besoin d’indulgence, n’avais−je donc pas aussi mes injustices à réparer?

Je ne vous ferai point le détail des faits ou des raisons qui le justifient; peut−être même l’esprit les apprécierait mal: c’est au coeur seul qu’il appartient de les sentir. Si pourtant vous deviez me soupçonner de faiblesse, j’appellerais votre jugement à l’appui du mien. Pour les hommes, dites−vous vous−même, l’infidélité n’est pas l’inconstance. Ce n’est pas que je ne sente que cette distinction, qu’en vain l’opinion autorise, n’en blesse pas moins la délicatesse: mais de quoi se plaindrait la mienne, quand celle de Valmont en souffre plus encore? Ce même tort que j’oublie, ne croyez pas qu’il se le pardonne ou s’en console; et pourtant, combien n’a−t−il pas réparé cette légère faute par l’excès de son amour et celui de mon bonheur!

“nous menions, votre Pupille et moi, une vie commode et bien réglée. Mais l’habitude amène la négligence: les premiers jours nous n’avions jamais pris assez de précautions pour notre sûreté, nous tremblions encore derrière les verrous. Hier, une incroyable distraction a causé l’accident dont j’ai à vous instruire; et si, pour mon compte, j’en ai été quitte pour la peur, il en coûte plus cher à la petite fille.

Nous ne dormions pas, mais nous étions dans le repos et l’abandon qui suivent la volupté, quand nous avons entendu la porte de la chambre s’ouvrir tout à coup. Aussitôt je saute à mon épée, tant pour ma défense que pour celle de notre commune Pupille; je m’avance et ne vois personne: mais en effet la porte était ouverte. Comme nous avions de la lumière, j’ai été à la recherche, et n’ai trouvé âme qui vive. Alors je me suis rappelé que nous avions oublié nos précautions ordinaires; et sans doute la porte poussée seulement, ou mal fermée, s’était ouverte d’elle−même.

En allant rejoindre ma timide compagne pour la tranquilliser, je ne l’ai plus trouvée dans son lit; elle était tombée, ou s’était sauvée dans sa ruelle: enfin, elle y était étendue sans connaissance, et sans autre mouvement que d’assez fortes convulsions. Jugez de mon embarras! Je parvins pourtant à la remettre dans son lit, et même à la faire revenir; mais elle s’était blessée dans sa chute, et elle ne tarda pas à en ressentir les effets.

Des maux de reins, de violentes coliques, des symptômes moins équivoques encore, m’ont eu bientôt éclairé sur son état: mais, pour le lui apprendre, il a fallu lui dire d’abord celui où elle était auparavant; car elle ne s’en doutait pas. Jamais peut−être, jusqu’à elle, on n’avait conservé tant d’innocence, en faisant si bien tout ce qu’il fallait pour s’en défaire! Oh! celle−là ne perd pas son temps à réfléchir!

Mais elle en perdait beaucoup à se désoler, et je sentais qu’il fallait prendre un parti. Je suis donc convenu avec elle que j’irais sur−le−champ chez le Médecin et le Chirurgien de la maison, et qu’en les prévenant qu’on allait venir les chercher, je leur confierais le tout, sous le secret; qu’elle, de son côté, sonnerait sa Femme de chambre; qu’elle lui ferait ou ne lui ferait pas sa confidence, comme elle voudrait; mais qu’elle enverrait chercher du secours, et défendrait surtout qu’on réveillât Madame de Volanges: attention délicate et naturelle d’une fille qui craint d’inquiéter sa mère.” “s’il ne survient pas d’accident, on ne s’apercevra de rien dans la maison. La Femme de chambre est du secret; le Médecin a donné un nom à la maladie; et cette affaire s’arrangera comme mille autres, à moins que par la suite il ne nous soit utile qu’on en parle.

“Parlez−moi vrai; vous faites−vous illusion à vous−même, ou cherchez−vous à me tromper? la différence entre vos discours et vos actions ne me laisse de choix qu’entre ces deux sentiments: lequel est le véritable? Que voulez−vous donc que je vous dise, quand moi−même je ne sais que penser?” “Celui qui s’en abstient aujourd’hui passe pour romanesque, et ce n’est pas là, je crois, le défaut que je vous reproche.”

CUL SUCRÉ: “je conçois qu’un Sultan peut le ressentir pour sa Sultane favorite, ce qui ne l’empêche pas de lui préférer souvent une simple Odalisque. Ma comparaison me paraît d’autant plus juste que, comme lui, jamais vous n’êtes ni l’Amant ni l’ami d’une femme; mais toujours son tyran ou son esclave. Aussi suis−je bien sûre que vous vous êtes bien humilié, bien avili, pour rentrer en grâce avec ce bel objet! et trop heureux d’y être parvenu, dès que vous croyez le moment arrivé d’obtenir votre pardon, vous me quittez pour ce grand événement.” “Prenez−y garde, Vicomte! si une fois je réponds, ma réponse sera irrévocable; et craindre de la faire en ce moment, c’est peut−être déjà en dire trop. Aussi je n’en veux absolument plus parler.” “Presta atenção, visconde! quando eu te tiver respondido, não volto atrás; se digo que seria uma temeridade responder agora, acho que já digo muito, não?! Calo a boca pra não me comprometer.”

«On s’ennuie de tout, mon Ange, c’est une Loi de la Nature; ce n’est pas ma faute.»

«Si donc je m’ennuie aujourd’hui d’une aventure qui m’a occupé entièrement depuis quatre mortels mois, ce n’est pas ma faute.»

«Si, par exemple, j’ai eu juste autant d’amour que toi de vertu, et c’est sûrement beaucoup dire, il n’est pas étonnant que l’un ait fini en même temps que l’autre. Ce n’est pas ma faute.»

Sua meiguice impiedosa: «Il suit de là que depuis quelque temps je t’ai trompée: mais aussi, ton impitoyable tendresse m’y forçait en quelque sorte! Ce n’est pas ma faute.»

«Aujourd’hui, une femme que j’aime éperdument exige que je te sacrifie. Ce n’est pas ma faute.»

«Je sens bien que voilà une belle occasion de crier au parjure: mais si la Nature n’a accordé aux hommes que la constance, tandis qu’elle donnait aux femmes l’obstination, ce n’est pas ma faute.»

«Crois−moi, choisis un autre Amant, comme j’ai fait une autre Maîtresse. Ce conseil est bon, très bon; si tu le trouves mauvais, ce n’est pas ma faute.»

«Adieu, mon Ange, je t’ai prise avec plaisir, je te quitte sans regret: je te reviendrai peut−être. Ainsi va le monde. Ce n’est pas ma faute.»

“À propos, je vous remercie de vos détails sur la petite Volanges; c’est un article à réserver jusqu’au lendemain du mariage, pour la Gazette de médisance. En attendant, je vous fais mon compliment de condoléances sur la perte de votre postérité. Bonsoir, Vicomte.

Du Château de …, ce 24 novembre 17**.”

“A présent, comme vous pouvez croire, je suis fort empressé d’apprendre la fin de l’histoire de cet homme de votre connaissance, si véhémentement soupçonné de ne savoir pas, au besoin, sacrifier une femme. Ne se sera−t−il pas corrigé? et sa généreuse amie ne lui aura−t−elle pas fait grâce?”

“je chérirai mes tourments s’ils abrègent mon existence. Je vous envoie la Lettre que j’ai reçue hier; je n’y joindrai aucune réflexion, elle les porte avec elle. Ce n’est plus le temps de se plaindre, il n’y a plus qu’à souffrir. Ce n’est pas de pitié que j’ai besoin, c’est de force.”

“Quand les blessures sont mortelles, tout secours devient inhumain. Tout autre sentiment m’est étranger, que celui du désespoir. Rien ne peut plus me convenir que la nuit profonde où je vais ensevelir ma honte. J’y pleurerai mes fautes, si je puis pleurer encore! car, depuis hier, je n’ai pas versé une larme. Mon coeur flétri n’en fournit plus.

Adieu, Madame. Ne me répondez point. J’ai fait le serment sur cette Lettre cruelle de n’en plus recevoir aucune.

Paris, ce 27 novembre 17**.”

“Le Couvent est le véritable asile d’une veuve; et si elle persiste dans une résolution si louable, je joindrai à toutes les obligations que je lui ai déjà celle de la célébrité que va prendre cette aventure.” “Qu’ils se montrent donc, ces Critiques sévères, qui m’accusaient d’un amour romanesque et malheureux; qu’ils fassent des ruptures plus promptes et plus brillantes: mais non, qu’ils fassent mieux; qu’ils se présentent comme consolateurs, la route leur est tracée. Hé bien! qu’ils osent seulement tenter cette carrière que j’ai parcourue en entier; et si l’un d’eux obtient le moindre succès, je lui cède la première place. Mais ils éprouveront tous que, quand j’y mets du soin, l’impression que je laisse est ineffaçable. Ah! sans doute, celle−ci le sera; et je compterais pour rien tous mes autres triomphes, si jamais je devais avoir auprès de cette femme un rival préféré.”

Sa Cécile était malade! Vous jugez que la tête tourne dans un tel malheur. Trois fois par jour il envoyait savoir des nouvelles, et n’en passait aucun sans s’y présenter lui−même; enfin il a demandé, par une belle Epître à la Maman, la permission d’aller la féliciter sur la convalescence d’un objet si cher et Madame de Volanges y a consenti: si bien que j’ai trouvé le jeune homme établi comme par le passé, à un peu de familiarité près qu’il n’osait encore se permettre.” “vaudrait−il la peine que votre pupille fût aussi mon élève, si elle ne devait tromper que son mari? Le chef−d’oeuvre est de tromper son Amant et surtout son premier Amant! car pour moi, je n’ai pas à me reprocher d’avoir prononcé le mot d’amour.”

“Oui, Vicomte, vous aimiez beaucoup Madame de Tourvel, et même vous l’aimez encore; vous l’aimez comme un fou: mais parce que je m’amusais à vous en faire honte, vous l’avez bravement sacrifiée. Vous en auriez sacrifié mille, plutôt que de souffrir une plaisanterie. Où nous conduit pourtant la vanité! Le Sage a bien raison, quand il dit qu’elle est l’ennemie du bonheur.”

“Qui m’aurait dit, il y a quelque temps, que bientôt vous auriez ma confiance exclusive, je ne l’aurais pas cru. Mais la vôtre a entraîné la mienne. Je serais tentée de croire que vous y avez mis de l’adresse, peut−être même de la séduction. Cela serait bien mal au moins! Au reste, elle ne serait pas dangereuse à présent; vous avez vraiment bien autre chose à faire! Quand l’Héroïne est en scène on ne s’occupe guère de la Confidente.” “Depuis Alcibiade [o belo amante de Sócrates] jusqu’à vous, ne sait−on pas que les jeunes gens n’ont jamais connu l’amitié que dans leurs chagrins? Le bonheur les rend quelquefois indiscrets, mais jamais confiants. Je dirai bien comme Socrate: J’aime que mes amis viennent à moi quand ils sont malheureux [Marmontel, Conte moral d’Alcibiade]; mais en sa qualité de Philosophe, il se passait bien d’eux quand ils ne venaient pas. En cela, je ne suis pas tout à fait si sage que lui, et j’ai senti votre silence avec toute la faiblesse d’une femme.”

“Je ne compte donc sur vous pour demain au soir, qu’autant que l’amour vous laissera libre et désoccupé, et je vous défends de me faire le moindre sacrifice.

Adieu, Chevalier; je me fais une vraie fête de vous revoir: viendrez−vous?

Du Château de …, ce 29 novembre 17**.”

“Vous qui l’avez vue, comme moi, si peu forte, si timide et si douce, concevez−vous donc que quatre personnes puissent à peine la contenir, et que pour peu qu’on veuille lui représenter quelque chose, elle entre dans des fureurs inexprimables? Pour moi, je crains qu’il n’y ait plus que du délire, et que ce ne soit une vraie aliénation d’esprit.

Ce qui augmente ma crainte à ce sujet, c’est ce qui s’est passé avant hier.” Madame de Volanges

“on lui représenta que sa qualité de femme mariée ne permettait pas de la recevoir sans une permission particulière. Cette raison ni mille autres n’y firent rien; et dès ce moment, elle s’obstina, non seulement à ne pas sortir du Couvent, mais même de sa chambre. Enfin, de guerre lasse à sept heures du soir, on consentit qu’elle y passât la nuit. On renvoya sa voiture et ses gens, et on remit au lendemain à prendre un parti.”


“Ô vous, que j’aime! ô toi, que j’adore! ô vous, qui avez commencé mon bonheur! ô toi, qui l’as comblé [satisfez]! Amie sensible, tendre Amante, pourquoi le souvenir de ta douleur vient−il troubler le charme que j’éprouve? Ah! madame, calmez−vous, c’est l’amitié qui vous le demande. Ô mon amie, sois heureuse, c’est la prière de l’amour.” Danceny

TRANSANDO COM O CUPIDO: “je sens dans mon coeur qu’il n’y a eu entre nous deux d’autre séducteur que l’amour. Ne crains donc plus de te livrer aux sentiments que tu inspires, de te laisser pénétrer de tous les feux que tu fais naître. Quoi! pour avoir été éclairés plus tard, nos coeurs en seraient−ils moins purs? non, sans doute. C’est au contraire la séduction, qui, n’agissant jamais que par projets, peut combiner sa marche et ses moyens, et prévoir au loin les événements. Mais l’amour véritable ne permet pas ainsi de méditer et de réfléchir: il nous distrait de nos pensées par nos sentiments; son empire n’est jamais plus fort que quand il est inconnu; et c’est dans l’ombre et le silence qu’il nous entoure de liens qu’il est également impossible d’apercevoir et de rompre.” “et tous deux nous n’avons reconnu l’Amour qu’en sortant de l’ivresse où ce Dieu nous avait plongés.”

“Dès que nous fûmes seules, elle m’apprit tout ce que déjà vous avez su d’elle, et que par cette raison je ne vous répéterai point.” “Ces accidents n’ont plus cessé de la soirée; et le bulletin de ce matin m’apprend que la nuit n’a pas été moins orageuse. Enfin, son état est tel que je m’étonne qu’elle n’y ait pas déjà succombé, et je ne vous cache point qu’il ne me reste que peu d’espoir.”

“s’il faut t’en croire, je n’obtiendrai point de réponse de toi: cette Lettre même sera la dernière; et nous nous priverons d’un commerce qui, selon toi, est dangereux, et dont nous n’avons pas besoin. Sûrement je t’en croirai, si tu persistes: car que peux−tu vouloir, que par cette raison même je ne le veuille aussi? Mais avant de te décider entièrement, ne permettras−tu pas que nous en causions ensemble?

Sur l’article des dangers, tu dois juger seule: je ne puis rien calculer, et je m’en tiens à te prier de veiller à ta sûreté, car je ne puis être tranquille quand tu seras inquiète. Pour cet objet, ce n’est pas nous deux qui ne sommes qu’un, c’est toi qui es nous deux.” “si nous différons d’avis, ce ne peut être que faute de nous expliquer ou de nous entendre.”

“C’est alors qu’une Lettre est si précieuse; si on ne la lit pas, du moins on la regarde… Ah! sans doute, on peut regarder une Lettre sans la lire, comme il me semble que la nuit j’aurais encore quelque plaisir à toucher ton portrait…”

SUMMUM VULGATA: “Adieu, ma charmante amie; l’heure approche enfin ou je pourrai te voir: je te quitte bien vite, pour t’aller retrouver plus tôt.

Paris, ce 3 décembre 17**.”

“Vous êtes à Paris depuis 4 jours; et chaque jour vous avez vu Danceny, et vous n’avez vu que lui seul. Aujourd’hui même votre porte était encore fermée; et il n’a manqué à votre Suisse, pour m’empêcher d’arriver jusqu’à vous, qu’une assurance égale à la vôtre. Cependant je ne devais pas douter, me mandiez−vous, d’être le premier informé de votre arrivée; de cette arrivée dont vous ne pouviez pas encore me dire le jour, tandis que vous m’écriviez la veille de votre départ. Nierez−vous ces faits, ou tenterez−vous de vous en excuser?” “Faites−moi donc savoir si ce sera chez vous, ou là−bas que se feront nos expiations nombreuses et réciproques. Surtout, plus de Danceny. Votre mauvaise tête s’était remplie de son idée; et je peux n’être pas jaloux de ce délire de votre imagination: mais songez que, de ce moment, ce qui n’était qu’une fantaisie deviendrait une préférence marquée. Je ne me crois pas fait pour cette humiliation, et je ne m’attends pas à la recevoir de vous.” “songez bien que plus il vous est facile de me faire oublier l’offense que vous m’avez faite, plus un refus de votre part, un simple délai, la graverait dans mon coeur en traits ineffaçables.”

“Mais ne vit−on pas chez l’Étranger comme ici? et à tout prendre, pourvu que la Cour de France vous laissât tranquille à celle où vous vous fixeriez, ce ne serait pour vous que changer le lieu de vos triomphes.” “Et voilà que vous m’écrivez la Lettre la plus maritale quil soit possible de voir! Vous ne m’y parlez que de torts de mon côté, et de grâces du vôtre! Mais comment donc peut−on manquer à celui à qui on ne doit rien? je ne saurais le concevoir!“Tout ce que je peux donc répondre à votre menaçante Lettre, c’est qu’elle n’a eu ni le don de me plaire, ni le pouvoir de m’intimider (…) Au vrai, vous accepter tel que vous vous montrez aujourd’hui, ce serait vous faire une infidélité réelle. Ce ne serait pas là renouer avec mon ancien Amant; ce serait en prendre un nouveau, et qui ne vaut pas l’autre à beaucoup près.”

“De longs discours n’étaient pas nécessaires pour établir que chacun de nous ayant en main tout ce qu’il faut pour perdre l’autre, nous avons un égal intérêt à nous ménager mutuellement: aussi, ce n’est pas de cela dont il s’agit. Mais encore entre le parti violent de se perdre, et celui, sans doute meilleur, de rester unis comme nous l’avons été, de le devenir davantage encore en reprenant notre première liaison, entre ces deux partis, dis−je, il y en a mille autres à prendre. Il n’était donc pas ridicule de vous dire, et il ne l’est pas de vous répéter que, de ce jour même, je serai ou votre Amant ou votre ennemi.”

“- vous voyez que la réponse que je vous demande n’exige ni longues ni belles phrases. Deux mots suffisent.

– Hé bien! la guerre.”

à votre âge, quelle femme n’adore−t−on pas, au moins les huit premiers jours! Le lieu de la scène doit encore ajouter à vos plaisirs. Une petite maison délicieuse, et qu’on n’a prise que pour vous, doit embellir la volupté, des charmes de la liberté, et de ceux du mystère. Tout est convenu; on vous attend: et vous brûlez de vous y rendre! voilà ce que nous savons tous deux, quoique vous ne m’en ayez rien dit.” “Placé entre la coquetterie et l’amour, entre le plaisir et le bonheur, quel va être votre choix? Si je parlais au Danceny d’il y a trois mois, seulement à celui d’il y a huit jours, bien sûr de son coeur, je le serais de ses démarches: mais le Danceny d’aujourd’hui, arraché par les femmes, courant les aventures, et devenu, suivant l’usage, un peu scélérat, préférera−t−il une jeune fille bien timide, qui n’a pour elle que sa beauté, son innocence et son amour, aux agréments d’une femme parfaitement usagée!”

“Ce que j’ajoute encore, c’est que je regrette Madame de Tourvel; c’est que je suis au désespoir d’être séparé d’elle; c’est que je paierais de la moitié de ma vie le bonheur de lui consacrer l’autre. Ah! croyez−moi, on n’est heureux que par l’amour.”

Vous me disiez tant que c’était moi qui aimais le moins! je savais bien le contraire, et en voilà bien la preuve. Si vous étiez venu pour me voir, vous m’auriez vue en effet: car moi, je ne suis pas comme vous; je ne songe qu’à ce qui peut nous réunir. Vous mériteriez bien que je ne vous dise rien de tout ce que j’ai fait pour ça, et qui m’a donné tant de peine: mais je vous aime trop, et j’ai tant d’envie de vous voir que je ne peux m’empêcher de vous le dire. Et puis, je verrai bien après si vous m’aimez réellement.

J’ai si bien fait que le Portier est dans nos intérêts, et qu’il m’a promis que toutes les fois que vous viendriez, il vous laisserait toujours entrer comme s’il ne vous voyait pas: et nous pouvons bien nous fier à lui, car c’est un bien honnête homme. Il ne s’agit donc plus que d’empêcher qu’on ne vous voie dans la maison; et ça, c’est bien aisé, en n’y venant que le soir, et quand il n’y aura plus rien à craindre du tout. Par exemple, depuis que Maman sort tous les jours, elle se couche tous les soirs à onze heures; ainsi nous aurions bien du temps.

comment résisterais−je à un désir de ma Cécile? Ah! c’est bien elle, elle seule que j’aime, que j’aimerai toujours! son ingénuité, sa tendresse ont un charme pour moi, dont j’ai pu avoir la faiblesse de me laisser distraire, mais que rien n’effacera jamais. Engagé dans une autre aventure, pour ainsi dire sans m’en être aperçu, souvent le souvenir de Cécile est venu me troubler jusque dans les plus doux plaisirs; et peut−être mon coeur ne lui a−t−il jamais rendu d’hommage plus vrai que dans le moment même où je lui étais infidèle. Cependant, mon ami, ménageons sa délicatesse et cachons−lui mes torts; non pour la surprendre, mais pour ne pas l’affliger. Le bonheur de Cécile est le voeu le plus ardent que je forme; jamais je ne me pardonnerais une faute qui lui aurait coûté une larme.

“souvent sa délicatesse effrayait son amour: plus sage que moi, elle fortifiera dans mon âme ces craintes utiles, que je cherchais témérairement à étouffer dans la sienne. Je lui devrai d’être meilleur, comme à vous d’être plus heureux. Ô mes amis, partagez ma reconnaissance. L’idée de vous devoir mon bonheur en augmente le prix.”

“Vous n’attendiez pas cela de lui, n’est−il pas vrai? Allons, je me rends justice, un pareil rival méritait bien que je lui fusse sacrifié. Sérieusement, il est plein de bonnes qualités! Mais surtout, que d’amour, de constance, de délicatesse! Ah! si jamais vous êtes aimée de lui comme l’est sa Cécile, vous n’aurez point de rivales à craindre: il vous l’a prouvé cette nuit. Peut−être à force de coquetterie, une autre femme pourra vous l’enlever un moment; un jeune homme ne sait guère se refuser à des agaceries provocantes: mais un seul mot de l’objet aimé suffit, comme vous voyez, pour dissiper cette illusion; ainsi il ne vous manque plus que d’être cet objet−là pour être parfaitement heureuse.”


“La Lettre que la jeune personne lui a écrite, c’est bien moi qui l’ai dictée; mais c’était seulement pour gagner du temps, parce que nous avions à l’employer mieux, celle que j’y ai jointe, oh! ce n’était rien, presque rien; quelques réflexions de l’amitié pour guider le choix du nouvel Amant: mais en honneur, elles étaient inutiles; il faut dire la vérité, il n’a pas balancé un moment.

Et puis, dans sa candeur, il doit aller chez vous aujourd’hui vous raconter tout; et sûrement ce récit−là vous fera grand plaisir! il vous dira: Lisez dans mon cour; il me le mande: et vous voyez bien que cela raccommode tout. J’espère qu’en y lisant ce qu’il voudra, vous y lirez peut−être aussi que les Amants si jeunes ont leurs dangers; et encore, qu’il vaut mieux m’avoir pour ami que pour ennemi.

Adieu, Marquise ; jusqu’à la première occasion.

Paris, ce 6 décembre 17**.”

“Je vous écris de la chambre de notre malheureuse amie, dont l’état est à peu près toujours le même. Il doit y avoir cet après−midi une consultation de quatre Médecins. Malheureusement, c’est, comme vous le savez, plus souvent une preuve de danger qu’un moyen de secours.” Madame de Volanges

“Je crois cependant que c’est à M. de Valmont que notre malheureuse amie a voulu écrire d’abord; mais qu’elle a cédé sans s’en apercevoir au désordre de ses idées. Quoi qu’il en soit, j’ai jugé que cette Lettre ne devait être rendue à personne. Je vous l’envoie, parce que vous y verrez mieux que je ne pourrais vous le dire quelles sont les pensées qui occupent la tête de notre malade. Tant qu’elle restera aussi vivement affectée, je n’aurai guère d’espérance. Le corps se rétablit difficilement, quand l’esprit est si peu tranquille.”


“J’étais innocente et tranquille: c’est pour t’avoir vu que j’ai perdu le repos; c’est en t’écoutant que je suis devenue criminelle. Auteur de mes fautes, quel droit as−tu de les punir?”

“Et toi, que j’ai outragé; toi, dont l’estime ajoute à mon supplice; toi, qui seul enfin aurais le droit de te venger, que fais−tu loin de moi? Viens punir une femme infidèle. Que je souffre enfin des tourments mérités. Déjà je me serais soumise à ta vengeance: mais le courage m’a manqué pour t’apprendre ta honte. Ce n’était point dissimulation, c’était respect. Que cette Lettre au moins t’apprenne mon repentir. Le Ciel a pris ta cause: il te venge d’une injure que tu as ignorée. C’est lui qui a lié ma langue et retenu mes paroles; il a craint que tu ne me remisses une faute qu’il voulait punir. Il m’a soustraite à ton indulgence qui aurait blessé sa justice.

VALMONT, LE DIABLE BIPOLAIRE: “Mais qu’il est différent de lui−même! Ses yeux n’expriment plus que la haine et le mépris. Sa bouche ne profère que l’insulte et le reproche. Ses bras ne m’entourent que pour me déchirer. Qui me sauvera de sa barbare fureur?” “oui, c’est toi, c’est bien toi! Quelle illusion funeste m’avait fait te méconnaître? combien j’ai souffert dans ton absence! Ne nous séparons plus, ne nous séparons jamais! Laisse−moi respirer. Sens mon coeur, comme il palpite! Oh! ce n’est plus de crainte, c’est la douce émotion de l’amour. Pourquoi te refuser à mes tendres caresses? Tourne vers moi tes doux regards! Quels sont ces liens que tu cherches à rompre? pour qui prépares−tu cet appareil de mort? qui peut altérer ainsi tes traits? que fais−tu? Laisse−moi: je frémis! Dieu! c’est ce monstre encore! Mes amies, ne m’abandonnez pas. Vous qui m’invitiez à le fuir, aidez−moi à le combattre


“Crains−tu qu’un sentiment doux ne pénètre jusqu’à mon âme? Tu redoubles mes tourments; tu me forces de te haïr. Oh! que la haine est douloureuse! comme elle corrode le coeur qui la distille! Pourquoi me persécutez−vous? que pouvez−vous encore avoir à me dire? ne m’avez−vous pas mise dans l’impossibilité de vous écouter, comme de vous répondre? N’attendez plus rien de moi. Adieu, Monsieur.

Paris, ce 5 décembre 17**.”

* * *

“Je suis instruit, Monsieur, de vos procédés envers moi. Je sais aussi que, non content de m’avoir indignement joué, vous ne craignez pas de vous en vanter, de vous en applaudir. J’ai vu la preuve de votre trahison écrite de votre main. J’avoue que mon coeur en a été navré, et que j’ai ressenti quelque honte d’avoir autant aidé moi−même à l’odieux abus que vous avez fait de mon aveugle confiance

“M. votre neveu… Mon Dieu! faut−il que j’afflige tant une si respectable dame! M. votre neveu a eu le malheur de succomber dans un combat singulier qu’il a eu ce matin avec M. le Chevalier Danceny. J’ignore entièrement le sujet de la querelle; mais il paraît par le billet que j’ai trouvé encore dans la poche de M. le Vicomte, et que j’ai l’honneur de vous envoyer; il paraît, dis−je, qu’il n’était pas l’agresseur. Et il faut que ce soit lui que le Ciel ait permis qui succombât!”

“«Je vous ordonne d’avoir pour Monsieur [Danceny, son assassin!] tous les égards qu’on doit à un brave et galant homme.» Il lui a de plus fait remettre, devant moi, des papiers fort volumineux, que je ne connais pas, mais auxquels je sais bien qu’il attachait beaucoup d’importance. Ensuite il a voulu qu’on les laissât seuls ensemble pendant un moment.”

O PASTOR RANCOROSO: “Bon Dieu! quand j’ai reçu dans mes bras à sa naissance ce précieux appui d’une maison si illustre, aurais−je pu prévoir que ce serait dans mes bras qu’il expirerait, et que j’aurais à pleurer sa mort? Une mort si précoce et si malheureuse! Mes larmes coulent malgré moi; je vous demande pardon, Madame, d’oser ainsi mêler mes douleurs aux vôtres: mais dans tous les états, on a un coeur et de la sensibilité; et je serais bien ingrat, si je ne pleurais pas toute ma vie un Seigneur qui avait tant de bontés pour moi, et qui m’honorait de tant de confiance.”

En pardonnant à son ennemi, à son meurtrier, mon neveu a pu satisfaire à sa générosité naturelle; mais moi, je dois venger à la fois sa mort, l’humanité et la religion. On ne saurait trop exciter la sévérité des Lois contre ce reste de barbarie, qui infecte encore nos moeurs; et je ne crois pas que ce puisse être dans ce cas que le pardon des injures nous soit prescrit. J’attends donc que vous suiviez cette affaire avec tout le zèle et toute l’activité dont je vous connais capable, et que vous devez à la mémoire de mon neveu.”

«Quoi! que dites vous? M. de Valmont est mort?» J’espérais lui faire croire qu’elle s’était trompée, et je l’assurai d’abord qu’elle avait mal entendu: mais loin de se laisser persuader ainsi, elle exigea du Médecin qu’il recommençât ce cruel récit; et sur ce que je voulus essayer encore de la dissuader, elle m’appela et me dit à voix basse: «Pourquoi vouloir me tromper? n’était−il pas déjà mort pour moi!» Il a donc fallu céder.”

“tant d’avantages réunis ont donc été perdus par une seule imprudence! Ô Providence! sans doute il faut adorer tes décrets; mais combien ils sont incompréhensibles!”

“je sais trop combien les méchancetés, même les moins vraisemblables, prennent aisément consistance” “On ajoute que Danceny, dans sa première indignation, a livré ces Lettres à qui a voulu les voir, et qu’à présent, elles courent Paris. On en cite particulièrement deux (Lettres LXXXI et LXXXV de ce Recueil): l’une où elle fait l’histoire entière de sa vie et de ses principes, et qu’on dit le comble de l’horreur; l’autre qui justifie entièrement M. de Prévan, dont vous vous rappelez l’histoire, par la preuve qui s’y trouve qu’il n’a fait au contraire que céder aux avances les plus marquées de Madame de Merteuil et que le rendez−vous était convenu avec elle.” “Je ne comprends pas non plus quel intérêt aurait eu Madame de Merteuil, que l’on suppose d’accord avec M. de Prévan, à faire une scène qui ne pouvait jamais être que désagréable par son éclat, et qui pouvait devenir très dangereuse pour elle, puisqu’elle se faisait par là un ennemi irréconciliable, d’un homme qui se trouvait maître d’une partie de son secret, et qui avait alors beaucoup de partisans. Cependant, il est à remarquer que, depuis cette aventure, il ne s’est pas élevé une seule voix en faveur de Prévan, et que, même de sa part, il n’y a eu aucune réclamation.

Ces réflexions me porteraient à le soupçonner l’auteur des bruits qui courent aujourd’hui, et à regarder ces noirceurs comme l’ouvrage de la haine et de la vengeance d’un homme qui, se voyant perdu, espère par ce moyen répandre au moins des doutes, et causer peut−être une diversion utile.”

“Dans mon impatience de vérifier ces faits, j’ai envoyé ce matin chez M. Danceny; il n’est pas non plus à Paris. Ses Gens ont dit à mon Valet de chambre qu’il était parti cette nuit, sur un avis qu’il avait reçu hier, et que le lieu de son séjour était un secret. Apparemment il craint les suites de son affaire. Ce n’est donc que par vous, ma chère et digne amie, que je puis avoir les détails qui m’intéressent, et qui peuvent devenir si nécessaires à Madame de Merteuil. Je vous renouvelle ma prière de me les faire parvenir le plus tôt possible.

“N’en croyez pas mes discours mais lisez, si vous en avez le courage, la correspondance que je dépose entre vos mains (C’est de cette correspondance, de celle remise pareillement à la mort de Madame de Tourvel, et des Lettres confiées aussi à Madame de Rosemonde par Madame de Volanges qu’on a formé le présent Recueil, dont les originaux subsistent entre les mains des héritiers de Madame de Rosemonde.). La quantité de Lettres qui s’y trouvent en original paraît rendre authentiques celles dont il n’existe que des copies. Au reste, j’ai reçu ces papiers, tels que j’ai l’honneur de vous les adresser, de M. de Valmont lui−même. Je n’y ai rien ajouté, et je n’en ai distrait que deux Lettres que je me suis permis de publier.

L’une était nécessaire à la vengeance commune de M. de Valmont et de moi, à laquelle nous avions droit tous deux, et dont il m’avait expressément chargé. J’ai cru de plus que c’était rendre service à la société que de démasquer une femme aussi réellement dangereuse que l’est Madame de Merteuil, et qui, comme vous pourrez le voir, est la seule, la véritable cause de tout ce qui s’est passé entre M. de Valmont et moi.

Un sentiment de justice m’a porté aussi à publier la seconde pour la justification de M. de Prévan, que je connais à peine, mais qui n’avait aucunement mérité le traitement rigoureux qu’il vient d’éprouver, ni la sévérité des jugements du public, plus redoutable encore, et sous laquelle il gémit depuis ce temps, sans avoir rien pour s’en défendre.”

“La Lettre de ma fille disait seulement qu’elle avait craint que je ne m’opposasse à la vocation qu’elle avait de se faire Religieuse, et qu’elle n’avait pas osé m’en parler: le reste n’était que des excuses sur ce qu’elle avait pris, sans ma permission, ce parti, que je ne désapprouverais sûrement pas, ajoutait−elle, si je connaissais ses motifs, que pourtant elle me priait de ne pas lui demander.

La Supérieure me mandait qu’ayant vu arriver une jeune personne seule, elle avait d’abord refusé de la recevoir; mais que l’ayant interrogée, et ayant appris qui elle était, elle avait cru me rendre service, em commençant par donner asile à ma fille, pour ne pas l’exposer à de nouvelles courses, auxquelles elle paraissait déterminée. La Supérieure, en m’offrant comme de raison de me remettre ma fille, si je la redemandais, m’invite, suivant son état, à ne pas m’opposer à une vocation qu’elle appelle si décidée elle me disait encore n’avoir pas pu m’informer plus tôt de cet événement, par la peine qu’elle avait eue à me faire écrire par ma file, dont le projet était que tout le monde ignorât où elle s’était retirée. C’est une cruelle chose

que la déraison des enfants!” “Quelque respect que j’aie pour la vocation religieuse, je ne verrais pas sans peine, et même sans crainte, ma fille embrasser cet état.”

“on rougit d’être femme, quand on en voit une capable de semblables excès.”

“Si vous permettez à mon âge une réflexion qu’on ne fait guère au vôtre, c’est que, si on était éclairé sur son véritable bonheur, on ne le chercherait jamais hors des bornes prescrites par les Lois et la Religion.” “Celui qui nous inspire nos sentiments sait mieux que notre vaine sagesse ce qui convient à chacun”

“Ma fille a montré avoir quelque goût pour le Chevalier Danceny, et j’ai été informée qu’elle a été jusqu’à recevoir des Lettres de lui, et même jusqu’à lui répondre; mais je croyais être parvenue à empêcher que cette erreur d’un enfant n’eût aucune suite dangereuse: aujourd’hui que je crains tout, je conçois qu’il serait possible que ma surveillance eût été trompée, et je redoute que ma fille, séduite, n’ait mis le comble à ses égarements.

Je me rappelle encore plusieurs circonstances qui peuvent fortifier cette crainte. Je vous ai mandé que ma fille s’était trouvée mal à la nouvelle du malheur arrivé à M. de Valmont; peut−être cette sensibilité avait−elle seulement pour objet l’idée des risques que M. Danceny avait courus dans ce combat. Quand depuis elle a tant pleuré en apprenant tout ce qu’on disait de Madame de Merteuil, peut−être ce que j’ai cru la douleur et l’amitié n’était que l’effet de la jalousie, ou du regret de trouver son Amant infidèle. Sa dernière démarche peut encore, ce me semble, s’expliquer par le même motif. Souvent on se croit appelée à Dieu, par cela seul qu’on se sent révoltée contre les hommes. Enfin, en supposant que ces faits soient vrais, et que vous en soyez instruite, vous aurez pu, sans doute, les trouver suffisants pour autoriser le conseil rigoureux que vous me donnez.

Cependant, s’il était ainsi, en blâmant ma fille, je croirais pourtant lui devoir encore de tenter tous les moyens de lui sauver les tourments et les dangers d’une vocation illusoire et passagère.” “Voilà, ma chère et digne amie, le seul espoir qui me reste; hâtez−vous de le confirmer, si cela vous est possible. Vous jugez combien je désire que vous me répondiez, et quel coup affreux me porterait votre silence”

(Cette Lettre est restée sans réponse)” TOMA!

“Elle aperçut une place vide sur l’une des banquettes, et elle alla s’y asseoir; mais aussitôt toutes les femmes qui y étaient déjà se levèrent comme de concert, et l’y laissèrent absolument seule. Ce mouvement marqué d’indignation générale fut applaudi de tous les hommes, et fit redoubler les murmures, qui, dit−on, allèrent jusqu’aux huées [vaias].”

“On assure que celle−ci a conservé l’air de ne rien voir et de ne rien entendre, et qu’elle n’a pas changé de figure! mais je crois ce fait exagéré. Quoi qu’il en soit, cette situation, vraiment ignominieuse pour elle, a duré jusqu’au moment où on a annoncé sa voiture; et à son départ, les huées scandaleuses ont encore redoublé. Il est affreux de se trouver parente de cette femme.” “qu’on sait depuis hier au soir, que la petite vérole [varíola: dermatose purulenta] s’est déclarée, confluente et d’un très mauvais caractère. En vérité, ce serait, je crois, un bonheur pour elle d’en mourir. On dit encore que toute cette aventure lui fera peut−être beaucoup de tort pour son procès, qui est près d’être jugé, et dans lequel on prétend qu’elle avait besoin de beaucoup de faveur.”

“je pars pour Malte: j’irai y faire avec plaisir, et y garder religieusement, des voeux qui me sépareront dun monde dont, si jeune encore, j’ai déjà eu tant à me plaindre; j’irai enfin chercher à perdre, sous un ciel étranger, l’idée de tant d’horreurs accumulées, et dont le souvenir ne pourrait qu’attrister et flétrir mon âme.”

“J’avais bien raison de dire que ce serait peut−être un bonheur pour elle de mourir de sa petite vérole. Elle en est revenue, il est vrai, mais affreusement défigurée; et elle y a particulièrement perdu un oeil. Vous jugez bien que je ne l’ai pas revue: mais on m’a dit qu’elle était vraiment hideuse.” “le peu de sa fortune qui n’était pas compromis dans ce procès est absorbé, et au−delà, par les frais.” “On croit qu’elle a pris la route de la Hollande.”

ma fille est donc bien coupable?… Vous pardonnerez sans doute à une mère de ne céder que difficilement à cette affreuse certitude.”

Qui pourrait ne pas frémir en songeant aux malheurs que peut causer une seule liaison dangereuse! et quelles peines ne s’éviterait−on point en y réfléchissant davantage! Quelle femme ne fuirait pas au premier propos d’un séducteur? Quelle mère pourrait, sans trembler, voir une autre personne qu’elle parler à sa fille? Mais ces réflexions tardives n’arrivent jamais qu’après l’événement; et l’une des plus importantes vérités, comme aussi peut−être des plus généralement reconnues, reste étouffée et sans usage dans le tourbillon de nos moeurs inconséquentes.”



AFFECTATION, s. f. dans le langage & dans la conversation, est un vice assez ordinaire aux gens qu’on appelle beaux parleurs. Il consiste à dire en termes bien recherchés, & quelquefois ridiculement choisis, des choses triviales ou communes: c’est pour cette raison que les beaux parleurs sont ordinairement si insupportables aux gens d’esprit, qui cherchent beaucoup plus à bien penser qu’à bien dire, ou plûtôt qui croyent que pour bien dire, il suffit de bien penser, qu’une pensée neuve, forte, juste, lumineuse, porte avec elle son expression; & qu’une pensée commune ne doit jamais être présentée que pour ce qu’elle est, c’est-à-dire avec une expression simple.

Affectation dans le style, c’est à peu près la même chose que l’affectation dans le langage, avec cette différence que ce qui est écrit doit être naturellement un peu plus soigné que ce que l’on dit, parce qu’on est supposé y penser mûrement en l’écrivant; d’où il s’ensuit que ce qui est affectation dans le langage ne l’est pas quelquefois dans le style. L’affectation dans le style est à l’affectation dans le langage, ce qu’est l’affectation d’un grand Seigneur à celle d’un homme ordinaire. J’ai entendu quelquefois faire l’éloge de certaines personnes, en disant qu’elles parlent comme un livre: si ce que ces personnes disent étoit écrit, cela pourroit être supportable: mais il me semble que c’est un grand défaut que de parler ainsi; c’est une marque presque certaine que l’on est dépourvû de chaleur & d’imagination: tant pis pour qui ne fait jamais de solécismes en parlant. On pourroit dire que ces personnes-là lisent toûjours, & ne parlent jamais. Ce qu’il y a de singulier, c’est qu’ordinairement ces beaux parleurs sont de très-mauvais écrivains: la raison en est toute simple; ou ils écrivent comme ils parleroient, persuadés qu’ils parlent comme on doit écrire; & ils se permettent en ce cas une infinité de négligences & d’expressions impropres qui échappent, malgré qu’on en ait, dans le discours; ou ils mettent, proportion gardée, le même soin à écrire qu’ils mettent à parler; & en ce cas l’affectation dans leur style est, si on peut parler ainsi, proportionnelle à celle de leur langage, & par conséquent ridicule. (O)

* AFFLICTION, chagrin, peine, synonymes. L’affliction est au chagrin, ce que l’habitude est à l’acte. La mort d’un pere nous afflige; la perte d’un procès nous donne du chagrin; le malheur d’une personne de connoissance nous donne de la peine. L’affliction abat; le chagrin donne de l’humeur; la peine attriste pour un moment: l’affliction est cet état de tristesse & d’abattement, où nous jette un grand accident, & dans lequel la mémoire de cette accident nous entretient. Les affligés ont besoin d’amis qui les consolent en s’affligeant avec eux; les personnes chagrines de personnes gaies, qui leur donnent des distractions; & ceux qui ont une peine, d’une occupation, quelle qu’elle soit, qui détourne leurs yeux, de ce qui les attriste, sur un autre objet.

* AFRIQUE, (Géog.) l’une des quatre parties principales de la Terre. Elle a depuis Tanger jusqu’à Suez environ 800 lieues; depuis le Cap-verd jusqu’au cap Guardafui 1420; & du cap de Bonne-Espérance jusqu’à Bone 1450. Long. 1-71. lat. mérid. 1-35. & lat. sept. 1-37. 30.

On ne commerce gueres que sur les côtes de l’Afrique; le dedans de cette partie du monde n’est pas encore assez connu, & les Européens n’ont gueres commencé ce commerce que vers le milieu du XIVe siecle. Il y en a peu depuis les Royaumes de Maroc & de Fés jusqu’aux environs du Cap-verd. Les étatablissemens sont vers ce cap & entre la riviere de Sénegal & de Serrelionne. La côte de Serrelionne est abordée par les quatre Nations: mais il n’y a que les Anglois & les Portugais qui y soient établis. Les Anglois seuls résident près du cap de Misérado. Nous faisons quelque commerce sur les côtes de Malaguette ou de Greve: nous en faisons davantage au petit Dieppe & au grand Sestre. La côte d’Ivoire ou des Dents est fréquentée par tous les Européens; ils ont presque tous aussi des Habitations & des Forts à la côte d’Or. Le cap de Corse est le principal établissement des Anglois: on trafique peu à Asdres. On tire de Benin & d’Angole beaucoup de Negres. On ne fait rien dans la Cafrerie. Les Portugais sont établis à Sofala, à Mozambique, à Madagascar. Ils font aussi tout le commerce de Melinde.



AE. (Gramm.) Cette figure n’est aujourd’hui qu’une diphthongue aux yeux, parce que quoiqu’elle soit composée de a & de e, on ne lui donne dans la prononciation que le son de l’e simple ou commun, & même on ne l’a pas conservée dans l’orthographe Françoise: ainsi on écrit César, Enée, Enéide, Equateur, Equinoxe, Eole, Préfet, Préposition, &c. Comme on ne fait point entendre dans la prononciation le son de l’a & de l’e en une seule syllabe, on ne doit pas dire que cette figure soit une diphthongue.”

Nos anciens Auteurs ont écrit par oe le son de l’ai prononcé comme un ê ouvert: ainsi on trouve dans plusieurs anciens Poëtes l’oer au lieu de l’air, aer & de même oeles pour aîles; ce qui est bien plus raisonnable que la pratique de ceux qui écrivent par ai le son de l’é ouvert, Français, connaître. On a écrit connoître dans le tems que l’on prononçoit connoître; la prononciation a changé, l’orthographe est demeurée dans les Livres; si vous voulez réformer cette orthographe & la rapprocher de la prononciation présente, ne réformez pas un abus par un autre encore plus grand: car ai n’est point fait pour représenter ê. Par exemple, l’interjection hai, hai, hai, bail, mail, &c. est la prononciation du Grec TAI=MOUSAI.

Que si on prononce par ê la diphthongue oculaire ai en palais, &c. c’est qu’autrefois on prononçoit l’a & l’i en ces mots-là; usage qui se conserve encore dans nos Provinces méridionales: de sorte que je ne vois pas plus de raison de réformer François par Français, qu’il y en auroit à réformer palais par palois.”

Voyez la Méthode Latine de P. R. (F)”

AEDES, f. (Hist. anc.) chez les anciens Romains, pris dans un sens général, signifioit un bâtiment, une maison, l’intérieur du logis, l’endroit même où l’on mangeoit, si l’on adopte cette étymologie de Valafridus Strabon: potest enim fieri ut oedes ad edendum in eis, ut coenacula ad coenandum primo sint factoe.

Le même mot dans un sens plus étroit, signifie une Chapelle ou sorte de Temple du second ordre, non consacré par les augures comme l’étoient les grands édifices proprement appellés Temples. On trouve dans les anciennes descriptions de Rome, & dans les Auteurs de la pure Latinité: AEdes Fortunoe, AEdes Herculis, AEdes Juturnoe. Peut-être ces Temples n’étoient-ils affectés qu’aux dieux du second ordre ou demi-dieux. Le fond des Temples où se rencontroit l’autel & la statue du dieu, se nommoit proprement AEdicula, diminutif d’AEdes.”

* AELURUS, (Myth.) Dieu des chats. Il est réprésenté dans les antiques Egyptiennes, tantôt en chat, tantôt en homme à tête de chat.”

* AEON, (Myth.) la premiere femme créée, dans le système des Phéniciens. Elle apprit à ses enfans à prendre des fruits pour leur nourriture, à ce que dit Sanchoniathon.”

AÉROMANTIE, s. f. (Divin. Hist. anc.) sorte de divination qui se faisoit par le moyen de l’air & par l’inspection des phénomenes qui y arrivoient. Aristophane en parle dans sa Comédie des Nuées. Elle se subdivise en plusieurs especes, selon Delrio. Celle qui se fait par l’observation des météores, comme le tonnerre, la feudre, les éclairs, se rapporte aux augures. Elle fait partie de l’Astrologie, quand elle s’attache aux aspects heureux ou malheureux des Planetes; & à la Teratoscopie, quand elle tire des présages de l’apparition de quelques spectres qu’on a vûs dans les airs, tels que des armées, de valiers, & autres prodiges dont parlent les Historiens. L’aéromantie proprement dite étoit celle où l’on conjuroit l’air pour en tirer des présages. Cardan a écrit sur cette matiere.”



* ADAD ou ADOD, s. m. (Myth.) divinité des Assyriens, que les uns prennent pour le soleil, d’autres pour cet Adad qui fut étouffé par Azael qui lui succéda, & qui fut adoré ainsi qu’Adad par les Syriens, & surtout à Damas, au rapport de Josephe. Antiq. Judaïq.

ADAM. “Ce n’est pas précisément comme nom propre, mais comme nom appellatif, que nous plaçons dans ce Dictionnaire le nom d’Adam, qui désigne tout homme en général, & répond au grec A’NTRWPO; qui répond au Grec PURRO\, & au Latin rufus [rubro; vermelho], à cause de la couleur roussâtre de la terre, dont, selon les Interpretes, Adam avoit été tiré.”

Il faut nécessairement en revenir à ce double état de félicité & de misère, de foiblesse & de grandeur, pour concevoir comment l’homme, même dans l’état présent, est un composé si étrange de vices & de vertus, si vivement porté vers le souverain bien, si souvent entraîné vers le mal, & suet à tant de maux qui paroissent à la raison seule les châtimens d’un crime commis anciennement. Les Payens même avoient entrevû les ombres de cette vérité, & elle est la base fondamentale de leur métempsycose, & la clé unique de tout le système du Christianisme.”

S. Augustin est le premier qui les ait développés à fond, & prouvé solidement l’un & l’autre dans ses écrits contre les Manichéens & les Pélagiens; persuadé que pour combattre avec succès ces deux Sectes opposées, il ne pouvoit trop insister sur l’extrème différence de ces deux états, relevant contre les Manichéens le pouvoir du libre arbitre dans l’homme innocent, & après sa chûte, la force toute-puissante de la grace pour combattre les maximes des Pélagiens”

On demande, 1°, combien de tems Adam & Eve demeurerent dans le jardin de délices. Quelques-uns les y laissent plusieurs années, d’autres quelques jours, d’autres seulement quelques heures. Dom Calmet pense qu’ils y pûrent demeurer 10 ou 12 jours, & qu’ils en sortirent vierges.

2°. Plusieurs auteurs Juifs ont prétendu que l’homme & la femme avoient été créés ensemble & collés par les épaules ayant quatre piés, quatre mains & deux têtes semblables en tout, hors le sexe, & que Dieu, leur ayant envoyé un profond sommeil, les sépara & en forma deux personnes: idée qui a beaucoup de rapport aux Androgynes de Platon. Voyez Androgyne. Eugubin [Agostino Steuco, italiano do séc. XVI, dono de antiquário e contra-reformista], in Cosmopoeia, veut qu’ils aient été unis, non par le dos, mais par les côtés; ensorte que Dieu, selon l’Écriture, tira la femme du côté d’Adam: mais cette opinion ne s’accorde pas avec le texte de Moyse, dans lequel on trouveroit encore moins de traces de la vision extravagante de la fameuse Antoinette Bourignon [misticista do séc. XVII], qui prétendoit q’Adam avoit été créé hermaphrodite, & qu’avant sa chûte il avoit engendré seul le corps de Jesus-Christ.

JOÃO E O PÉ-DE-ADÃO: “3°. On n’a pas moins débité de fables sur la beauté & la taille d’Adam. On a avancé qu’il étoit le plus bel homme qui ait jamais été, & que Dieu, pour le former, se revêtit d’un corps humain parfaitement beau. D’autres ont dit qu’il étoit le plus grand géant qui eût jamais été, & ont prétendu prouver cette opinion par ces paroles de la Vulgate, Josué, ch. XIV: Nomen Hebron ante vocabatur Cariath-Arbé, Adam maximus ibi inter Enachim situs est; mais dans le passage le mot Adam n’est pas le nom propre du premier homme, mais un nom appellatif qui a rapport à arbé; ensorte que le sens de ce passage est: cet homme (Arbé) étoit le plus grand ou le père des Enachims. Sur ce fondement, & d’autres semblables, les Rabbins ont enseigné que le premier homme étoit d’une taille si prodigieuse, qu’il s’étendoit d’un bout du monde jusqu’à l’autre, & qu’il passa des isles Atlantiques dans notre continent sans avoir au milieu de l’Océan de l’eau plus haut que la ceinture: mais que depuis son péché Dieu appesantit sa main sur lui, & le réduisit à la mesure de 100 aunes [medida francesa antiga =~ 73m]. D’autres lui laissent la hauteur de 900 coudées, c’est-à-dire, de plus de 1.300 piés [circa 400m], & disent que ce fut à la prière des Anges effrayés de la première hauteur d’Adam, que Dieu le réduisit à celle-ci.”

Ísis e o Pé-d’Aquiles

C’est sans fondement qu’on lui attribue l’invention des lettres hébraïques, le Pseaume XCI & quelques ouvrages supposés par les Gnostiques & d’autres Novateurs.”

ADAMITES ou ADAMIENS. “ils prirent le nom d’Adamites, parce qu’ils prétendoient avoir été rétablis dans l’état de nature innocente, être tels qu’Adam au moment de sa création, & par conséquent devoir imiter sa nudité. Ils détestoient le mariage, soûtenant que l’union conjugale n’auroit jamais eu lieu sur la terre sans le péché, & regardoient la joüissance des femmes en commun comme un privilége de leur prétendu rétablissement dans la Justice originelle. Quelqu’incompatibles que fussent ces dogmes infames avec une vie chaste, quelques-uns d’eux ne laissoient pas que de se vanter d’être continens, & assûroient que si quelqu’un des leurs tomboit dans le péché de la chair, ils le chassoient de leur assemblée, comme Adam & Eve avoient été chassés du Paradis terrestre pour avoir mangé du fruit défendu; qu’ils se regardoient comme Adam & Eve, & leur Temple comme le Paradis. Ce Temple après tout n’étoit qu’un soûterrain, une caverne obscure, ou un poële dans lequel ils entroient tout nuds, hommes & femmes [mangá Berserk!]; & là tout leur étoit permis, jusqu’à l’adultère & à l’inceste, dès que l’ancien ou le chef de leur société avoit prononcé ces paroles de la Genese 1:22: Crescite & multiplicamini. Théodoret ajoûte que, pour commettre de pareilles actions, ils n’avoient pas même d’égard à l’honnêteté publique, & imitoient l’impudence des Cyniques du paganisme. Tertullien assûre qu’ils nioient avec Valentin l’unité de Dieu, la nécessité de la prière, & jaitoient le martyre de folie & d’extravagance. Saint Clément d’Alexandrie dit qu’ils se vantoient d’avoir des livres secrets de Zoroastre, ce qui a fait conjecturer à M. de Tillemont qu’ils étoient adonnés à la magie. Epiph. hoers. 52. Théodoret, liv. I. hicar. fabular. Tertull. contr. Prax. c. 3. & in Scorpiac. c. 15. Clem. Alex. Strom. lib. 1. Tillemont, ome Il. page 280.

Tels furent les anciens Adamites. Leur secte obscure & détestée ne subsista pas apparemment longtems, puisque Saint Epiphane doute qu’il y en eût encore, lorsqu’il écrivoit: mais elle fut renouvellée dans le XIIe siècle par un certain Tandème connu encore sous le nom de Tanchelin, qui sema ses erreurs à Anvers sous le regne de l’Empereur Henri V. Les principales étoient qu’il n’y avoit point de distinction entre les Prêtres & les laïcs, & que la fornication & l’adultere étoient des actions saintes & méritoires. Accompagné de 3000 scélérats armés, il accrédita cette doctrine par son éloquence & par ses exemples; sa secte lui survécut peu, & fut éteinte par le zele de Saint Norbert.

D’autres Adamites reparurent encore dans le XIVe siecle sous le nom de Turlupins & de pauvres Frères, dans le Dauphiné & la Savoie. Ils soûtenoient que l’homme arrivé à un certain état de perfection, étoit affranchi de la loi des passions, & que bien loin que la liberté de l’homme sage consistât à n’être pas soûmis à leur empire, elle consistoit au contraire à secouer [romper] le joug des Lois divines. Ils alloient tous nuds, & commettoient en plein jour les actions les plus brutales. Le Roi Charles V secondé par le zele de Jacques de Mora, Dominicain & Inquisiteur à Bourges, en fit périr plusieurs par les flammes [que interessante contraste…]; on brûla aussi quelques-uns de leurs livres à Paris dans la Place du marché aux pourceaux, hors la rue Saint Honoré.”

Picard trompoit les peuples par ses prestiges, & se qualifioit fils de Dieu: il prétendoit que comme un nouvel Adam il avoit été envoyé dans le monde pour y rétablir la loi de nature, qu’il faisoit surtout consister dans la nudité de toutes les parties du corps, & dans la communauté des femmes. Il ordonnoit à ses disciples d’aller nuds par les rues & les places publiques, moins réservé à cet égard que les anciens Adamites, qui ne se permettoient cette licence que dans leurs assemblées. Quelques Anabaptistes tenterent en Hollande d’augmenter le nombre des sectateurs de Picard: mais la séverité du Gouvernement les eut bientôt dissipés. Cette secte a aussi trouvé des partisans en Pologne & en Angleterre: ils s’assemblent la nuit; & l’on prétend qu’une des maximes fondamentales de leur société est contenue dans ce vers,

Jura, perjura, secretum prodere noli.

Quelques Savans sont dans l’opinion que l’origine des Adamites remonte beaucoup plus haut que l’établissement du Christianisme: ils se fondent sur ce que Maacha mère d’Asa, Roi de Juda, étoit grande Prêtresse de Priape, & que dans les sacrifices nocturnes que les femmes faisoient à cette idole obscène, elles paroissoient toutes nues. Le motif des Adamites n’étoit pas le même que celui des adorateurs de Priape; & l’on a vû par leur Théologie qu’ils n’avoient pris du Paganisme que l’esprit de débauche, & non le culte de Priape. Voyez Priape. (G)”

* ADARGATIS ou ADERGATIS ou ATERGATIS, (Myth.) divinité des Syriens, femme du dieu Adad. Selden prétend qu’Adargatis vient de Dagon par corruption. C’est presqu’ici le cas de l’épigramme: Mais il faut avouer aussi qu’en venant de-là jusqu’ici elle a bien changé sur la roue. On la prend pour la Derecto des Babyloniens & la Venus des Grecs.”

* ADONAÏ, s. m. (Théol.) est, parmi les Hébreux, un des noms de Dieu, & signifie Seigneur. Les Massoretes ont mis sous le nom que l’on lit aujourd’hui Jehova, les points qui conviennent aux consonnes du mot Adonaï, parce qu’il étoit défendu chez les Juifs de prononcer le nom propre de Dieu, & qu’il n’y avoit que le Grand-Prêtre qui eût ce privilége, lorsqu’il entroit dans le Sanctuaire. Les Grecs ont aussi mis le mot Adonaï à tous les endroits où se trouve le nom de Dieu. Le mot Adonaï est dérivé d’une racine qui signifie base & fondement, & convient à Dieu, en ce qu’il est le soûtien de toutes les créatures, & qu’il les gouverne. Les Grecs l’ont traduit par XURIO, & les Latins par Dominus. Il s’est dit aussi quelquefois des hommes, comme dans ce verser du Pseaume 104. Constituit eum Dominum doms suoe, en parlant des honneurs auxquels Pharaon éleva Joseph, où le texte hébreu porte: Adonaï. Genebrard, le Clerc, Cappel, de nomine Dei Tetragramm. (G)”

* ADONÉE, (Myth.) nom que les Arabes donnoient au Soleil & à Bacchus, qu’ils adoroient. Ils offroient au premier tous les jours de l’encens & des parfums.”

ADOPTIENS, s. m. pl. (Théolog.) hérétiques du huitieme siecle, qui prétendoient que Jesus-Christ, en tant qu’Homme, n’étoit pas fils propre ou fils naturel de Dieu, mais seulement son fils adoptif.”

* ADRAMELECH, s. m. (Myth.) faux Dieu des Sépharraïmites, peuples que les Rois d’Assyrie envoyerent dans la Terre-sainte après que Salmanazar eut détruit le Royaume d’Israël. Les adorateurs d’Adramelech faisoient brûler leurs enfans en son honneur. On dit qu’il étoit représenté sous la forme d’un mulet [mula], d’autres disent sous celle d’un paon [pavão].”

* ADRASTÉE ou ADRASTIE, s. f. (Myth.) Divinité autrement appellée Nemesis, fille de Jupiter & de la Nécessité, ou, selon Hésiode, de la Nuit: c’étoit la vangeresse des crimes. Elle examinoit les coupables du haut de la sphere de la lune où les Egyptiens l’avoient reléguée.”

ADULTÈRE. “Les anciens Romains n’avoient point de loi formelle contre l’adultere; l’accusation & la peine en étoient arbitraires. L’Empereur Auguste fut le premier qui en fit une, qu’il eut le malheur de voir exécuter dans la personne de ses propres enfans: ce fut la loi Julia, qui portoit peine de mort contre les coupables: mais, quoiqu’en vertu de cette loi, l’accusation du crime d’adultere fût publique & permise à tout le monde, il est certain néanmoins que l’adultere a toûjours été consideré plûtôt comme un crime domestique & privé, que comme un crime public; ensorte qu’on permettoit rarement aux étrangers d’en poursuivre la vengeance, surtout si le mariage étoit paisible, & que le mari ne se plaignît point.

A présent, dans la plûpart des contrées de l’Europe, l’adultere n’est point réputé crime public; il n’y a que le mari seul qui puisse accuser sa femme: le Ministère public même ne le pourroit pas, à moins qu’il n’y eùt un grand scandale”

Lycurgue punissoit un homme convaincu d’adultere comme un parricide; les Locriens lui crevoient les yeux; & la plûpart des peuples orientaux punissent ce crime très-séverement.” “En Espagne on punissoit le coupable par le retranchement des parties qui avoient été l’instrument du crime.” “En Pologne, avant que le Christianisme y fût établi, on punissoit l’adultere & la fornication d’une façon bien singuliere. On conduisoit le criminel dans la place publique; là on l’attachoit avec un crochet [gancho] par les testicules, lui laissant un rasoir [lâmina] à sa portée; de sorte qu’il falloit de toute nécessité qu’il se mutilât lui-même pour se dégager; à moins qu’il n’aimât mieux périr dans cet état.”

Les lois concernant l’adultere sont à présent bien mitigées. Toute la peine qu’on inflige à la femme convaincue d’adultere, c’est de la priver de sa dot & de toutes ses conventions matrimoniales, & de la reléguer dans un monastere. On ne la fouette [chicoteia] même pas, de peur que si le mari se trouvoit disposé à la reprendre, cet affront public ne l’en détournât.”

Il y eut un tems où les Lacédemoniens, loin de punir l’adultere, le permettoient, ou au moins le toléroient, à ce que nous dit Plutarque.

L’adultere rend le mariage illicite entre les deux coupables, & forme ce que les Theologiens appellent impedimentum criminis.”


Dumas [pai]



Frascati: vinho branco italiano, procedente da região de mesmo nome

mazzolata: também mazzatello. Punição capital extremamente cruel empregada pela Igreja no século XVIII. A arma usada pelo carrasco era um enorme martelo ou um machado. O executor, no caso da 1ª arma, embalava a arma para pegar impulso no único golpe que desferia e acertava na cabeça do condenado, que se não morria caía desmaiado no chão e depois tinha a garganta cortada. Reservado a crimes hediondos.

singlestick: foi modalidade olímpica em 1904

I have a partner, and you know the Italian proverb – Chi ha compagno ha padrone – <He who has a partner has a master.>”

<but you were right to return as soon as possible, my boy.>

<And why?>

<Because Mercedes is a very fine girl, and fine girls never lack followers; she particularly has them by dozens.>

<Really?> answered Edmond, with a smile which had in it traces of slight uneasiness.”

Believe me, to seek a quarrel with a man is a bad method of pleasing the woman who loves that man.”

Why, when a man has friends, they are not only to offer him a glass of wine, but moreover, to prevent his suwallowing 3 or 4 pints [2 litros] of water unnecessarily!”

<Well, Fernand, I must say,> said Caderousse, beginning the conversation, with that brutality of the common people in which curiosity destroys all diplomacy, <you look uncommonly like a rejected lover;> and he burst into a hoarse laugh”

<they told me the Catalans were not men to allow themselves to be supplanted by a rival. It was even told me that Fernand, especially, was terrible in his vengeance.>

Fernand smiled piteously. <A lover is never terrible,> he said.”

pricked by Danglars, as the bull is pricked by the bandilleros”

<Unquestionably, Edmond’s star is in the ascendant, and he will marry the splendid girl – he will be captain, too, and laugh at us all unless.> – a sinister smile passed over Danglars’ lips – <unless I take a hand in the affair,> he added.”

happiness blinds, I think, more than pride.”

That is not my name, and in my country it bodes ill fortune, they say, to call a young girl by the name of her betrothed, before he becomes her husband. So call me Mercedes if you please.”

We are always in a hurry to be happy, Mr. Danglars; for when we have suffered a long time, we have great difficulty in believing in good fortune.”

<I would stab the man, but the woman told me that if any misfortune happened to her betrothed, she would kill herself>

<Pooh! Women say those things, but never do them.>”

<you are 3 parts drunk; finish the bottle, and you will be completely so. Drink then, and do not meddle with what we are discussing, for that requires all one’s wit and cool judgement.>

<I – drunk!> said Caderousse; <well that’s a good one! I could drink four more such bottles; they are no bigger than cologne flanks. Pere Pamphile, more wine!>”

and Caderousse rattled his glass upon the table.”

Drunk, if you like; so much the worse for those who fear wine, for it is because they have bad thoughts which they are afraid the liquor will extract from their hears;”

Tous les mechants sont beuveurs d’eau; C’est bien prouvé par le deluge.”

Say there is no need why Dantes should die; it would, indeed, be a pity he should. Dantes is a good fellow; I like Dantes. Dantes, your health.”

<Absence severs as well as death, and if the walls of a prison were between Edmond and Mercedes they would be as effectually separated as if he lay under a tombstone.>

<Yes; but one gets out of prison,> said Caderousse, who, with what sense was left him, listened eagerly to the conversation, <and when one gets out and one’s name is Edmond Dantes, one seeks revenge>-“

<I say I want to know why they should put Dantes in prison; I like Dantes; Dantes, our health!>

and he swallowed another glass of wine.”

the French have the superiority over the Spaniards, that the Spaniards ruminate, while the French invent.”

Yes; I am supercargo; pen, ink, and paper are my tools, and whitout my tools I am fit for nothing.” “I have always had more dread of a pen, a bottle of ink, and a sheet of paper, than of a sword or pistol.”

<Ah,> sighed Caderousse, <a man cannot always feel happy because he is about to be married.>”

Joy takes a strange effect at times, it seems to oppress us almost the same as sorrow.”

<Surely,> answered Danglars, <one cannot be held responsible for every chance arrow shot into the air>

<You can, indeed, when the arrow lights point downward on somebody’s head.>”

<That I believe!> answered Morrel; <but still he is charged>-

<With what?> inquired the elder Dantes.

<With being an agent of the Bonapartist faction!>

Many of our readers may be able to recollect how formidable such and accusation became in the period at which our story is dated.”

the man whom 5 years of exile would convert into a martyr, and 15 of restoration elevate to the rank of a god.”

glasses were elevated in the air à l’Anglais, and the ladies, snatching their bouquets from their fair bossoms, strewed the table with their floral treasures.”

yes, yes, they could not help admitting that the king, for whom we sacrificed rank, wealth and station was truly our <Louis the well-beloved,> while their wretched usurper has been, and ever wil be, to them their evil genius, their <Napoleon the accursed.>”

Napoleon is the Mahomet of the West and is worshipped as the personification of equality.”

one is the quality that elevantes [Napoleon], the other is the equality that degrades [Robespierre]; one brings a king within reach of the guillotine, the other elevates the people to a level with the throne.”

9 Termidor: degolação de Robespierre, num 27/7

4/4/14 – Queda de Napoleão

<Oh, M. de Villefort,>, cried a beautiful young creature, daughter to the Comte de Salvieux, and the cherished friend of Mademoiselle de Saint-Meran, <do try and get up some famous trial while we are at Marseilles. I never was in a law-cout; I am told it is so very amusing!>

<Amusing, certainly,> replied the young man, <inasmuch as, instead of shedding tears as at a theatre, you behold in a law-court a case of real and genuine distress – a drama of life. The prisoner whom you there see pale, agitated, and alarmed, instead of – as is the case when a curtain falls on a tragedy – going home to sup peacefully with his family, and then retiring to rest, that he may recommence his mimic woes on the morrow, – is reconducted to his prison and delivered up to the executioner. I leave you to judge how far your nerves are calculated to bear you through such a scene. Of this, however, be assured, that sould any favorable apportunity present itself, I will not fail to offer you the choice of being present.>

I would not choose to see the man against whom I pleaded smile, as though in mockery of my words. No; my pride is to see the accused pale, agitated and as though beaten out of all composure by the fire of my eloquence.”

Why, that is the very worst offence they could possibly commit, for, don’t you see, Renée, the king is the father of his people, and he who shall plot or contrive aught against the life and safety of the parent of 32 millions of souls, is a parricide upon a fearfully great scale.>”

It was, as we have said, the 1st of March, and the prisoner was soon buried in darkness.” 01/03/16

But remorse is not thus banished; like Virgil’s wounded hero, he carried the arrow in his wound, and, arrived at the salon, Villefort uttered a sigh that was almost a sob, and sank into a chair.”

Danglars was one of those men born with a pen behind the ear, and an inkstand in place of a heart. Everything with him was multiplication or subtraction. The life of a man was to him of far less value than a numeral, especially when, by taking it away, he could increase the sum total of his own desires. He went to bed at his usual hour, and slept in peace.”


desejos desejados no mar infinito

despojos desejosos de ser entregues aos derrotados

de consolo

que nojo

dessa raça

em desgraça


que a maré a leve

para o fundo

do abismo



pesado cardume

proa perdeu o lume

popa nasceu sem gume

mastro adubado de petróleo

fóssil agora

apagado e insolente

eu sou experiente, experimente!

um louco que está sempre no lucro

das questões eu chego ao fulcro

por mais que não seja inteligente,

seja só uma compulsão demente

ser verdadeiro

se ver como herdeiro

de uma civilização

legada ao esquecimento


o trem metafísico e seu lote de vagãos pagãos

levando à conclusão

de que o choque é elétrico

e anafilático

nada de milagre nada de intangível

só cobramos e debitamos o crível


said Louis XVIII, laughing; <the greatest captains of antiquity amused themselves by casting pebbles [seixos] into the ocean – see Plutarch’s Scipio Africanus.>”

<So then,> he exclaimed, turning pale with anger, <seven conjoined and allied armies overthrew that man. A miracle of heaven replaced me on the throne of my fathers after five-and-twenty years of exile. I have, during those 5-&-20 years, spared no pains to understand the people of France and the interests which were confided to me; and now when I see the fruition of my wishes almost within reach, the power I hold in my hands bursts, and shatters me to atoms!>”

Really impossible for a minister who has an office, agents, spies, and fifteen hundred thousand [1,5 million] francs for secret service money, to know what is going on at 60 leagues from the coast of France!”

Why, my dear boy, when a man has been proscribed by the mountaineers, has escaped from Paris in a hay-cart, been hunted over the plains of Bordeaux by Robespierre’s bloodhounds, he becomes accustomed to most things.”

<Come, come,> said he, <will the Restoration adopt imperial methods so promptly? Shot, my dear boy? What an idea! Where is the letter you speak of? I know you too well to suppose you would allow such a thing to pass you.>”

Quando a polícia está em débito, ela declara que está na pista; e o governo pacientemente aguarda o dia em que ela vem para dizer, com um ar fugitivo, que perdeu a pista.”

The king! I thought he was philosopher enough to allow that there was no murder in politics. In politics, my dear fellow, you know, as well as I do, there are no men, but ideas – no feelings, but interests; in politics we do not kill a man, we only remove an obstacle, that is all. Would you like to know how matters have progressed? Well, I will tell you. It was thought reliance might be placed in General Quesnel; he was recommended to us from the Island of Elba; one of us went to him, and visited him to the Rue Saint-Jacques, where he would find some friends. He came there, and the plan was unfolded to him for leaving Elba, the projected landing, etc. When he had heard and comprehended all to the fullest extent, he replied that he was a royalist. Then all looked at each other, – he was made to take an oath, and did so, but with such an ill grace that it was really tempting Providence to swear him, and yet, in spite of that, the general allowed to depart free – perfectly free. Yet he did not return home. What could that mean? why, my dear fellow, that on leaving us he lost his way, that’s all. A murder? really, Villefort, you surprise me.”

<The people will rise.>

<Yes, to go and meet him.>

Ring, then, if you please, for a second knife, fork, and plate, and we will dine together.”

<Eh? the thing is simple enough. You who are in power have only the means that money produces – we who are in expectation, have those which devotion prompts.>

<Devotion!> said Villefort, with a sneer.

<Yes, devotion; for that is, I believe, the phrase for hopeful ambition.>

And Villefort’s father extended his hand to the bell-rope to summon the servant whom his son had not called.”

Say this to him: <Sire, you are deceived as to the feeling in France, as to the opinions of the towns, and the prejudices of the army; he whom in Paris you call the Corsican ogre, who at Nevers is styled the usurper, is already saluted as Bonaparte at Lyons, and emperor at Grenoble. You think he is tracked, pursued, captured; he is advancing as rapidly as his own eagles. The soldiers you believe to be dying with hunger, worn out with fatigue, ready to desert, gather like atoms of snow about the rolling ball as it hastens onward. Sire, go, leave France to its real master, to him who acquired it, not by purchase, but by right of conquest; go, sire, not that you incur any risk, for your adversary is powerful enough to show you mercy, but because it would be humiliating for a grandson of Saint Louis to owe his life to the man of Arcola Marengo, Austerlitz.> Tell him this, Gerard; or, rather, tell him nothing. Keep your journey a secret; do not boast of what you have come to Paris to do, or have done; return with all speed; enter Marseilles at night, and your house by the back-door, and there remain quiet, submissive, secret, and, above all, inoffensive”

Every one knows the history of the famous return from Elba, a return which was unprecedented in the past, and will probably remain without a counterpart in the future.”

Napoleon would, doubtless, have deprived Villefort of his office had it not been for Noirtier, who was all powerful at court, and thus the Girondin of ‘93 and the Senator of 1806 protected him who so lately had been his protector.” “Villefort retained his place, but his marriage was put off until a more favorable opportunity.” “He made Morrel wait in the antechamber, although he had no one with him, for the simple sreason that the king’s procureur always makes every one wait, and after passing a quarter of an hour in reading the papers, he ordered M. Morrel to be admitted.”

<Edmond Dantes.>

Villefort would probably have rather stood opposite the muzzle of a pistol at five-and-twenty paces than have heard this name spoken; but he did not blanch.”

<Monsieur,> returned Villefort, <I was then a royalist, because I believed the Bourbons not only the heirs to the throne, but the chosen of the nation. The miraculous return of Napoleon has conquered me, the legitimate monarch is he who is loved by his people.>”

<There has been no arrest.>


<It is sometimes essential to government to cause a man’s disappearance without leaving any traces, so that no written forms or documents may defeat their wishes.>

<It might be so under the Bourbons, but at present>-

<It has always been so, my dear Morrel, since the reign of Louis XIV. The emperor is more strict in prison discipline than even Louis himself>”

As for Villefort, instead of sending to Paris, he carefully preserved the petition that so fearfully compromised Dantes, in the hopes of an event that seemed not unlikely, – that is, a 2nd restoration. Dantes remained a prisoner, and heard not the noise of the fall of Louis XVIII’s throne, or the still more tragic destruction of the empire.” “At last there was Waterloo, and Morrel came no more; he had done all that was in his power, and any fresh attempt would only compromise himself uselessly.”

But Fernand was mistaken; a man of his disposition never kills himself, for he constantly hopes.”

Old Dantes, who was only sustained by hope, lost all hope at Napoleon’s downfall. Five months after he had been separated from his son, and almost at the hour of his arrest, he breathed his last in Mercedes’ arms.”

The inspector listened attentively; then, turning to the governor, observed, <He will become religious – he is already more gentle; he is afraid, and retreated before the bayonets – madmen are not afraid of anything; I made some curious observations on this at Charenton.> Then, turning to the prisoner, <What is it you want?> said he.”

<My information dates from the day on which I was arrested,> returned the Abbé Faria; <and as the emperor had created the kingdom of Rome for his infant son, I presume that he has realized the dream of Machiavelli and Caesar Borgia, which was to make Italy a united kingdom.>

<Monsieur,> returned the inspector, <providence has changed this gigantic plan you advocate so warmly.>

<It is the only means of rendering Italy strong, happy, and independent.>

<Very possibly; only I am not come to discuss politics, but to inquire if you have anything to ask or to complain of.>

<The food is the same as in other prisons, – that is, very bad, the lodging is very unhealthful, but, on the whole, passable for a dungeon; but it is not that which I wish to speak of, but a secret I have to reveal of the greatest importance.>

<It is for that reason I am delighted to see you,> continued the abbé, <although you have disturbed me in a most important calculation, which, if it succeded, would possibly change Newton’s system. Could you allow me a few words in private.>”

<On my word,> said the inspector in a low tone, <had I not been told beforehand that this man was mad, I should believe what he says.>”

A new governor arrived; it would have been too tedious to acquire the names of the prisoners; he learned their numbers instead. This horrible place contained 50 cells; their inhabitants were designated by the numbers of their cell, and the unhappy young man was no longer called Edmond Dantes – he was now number 34.”

Prisioneiros de segurança máxima não devem adoecer – que bactéria ou vírus cosmopolita os visitaria? Que mudança que fosse mais forte e sensível que o supertédio?

he addressed his supplications, not to God, but to man. God is always the last resource. Unfortunates, who ought to begin with God, do not have any hope in him till they have exhausted all other means of deliverance.”

Dantes spoke for the sake of hearing his own voice; he had tried to speak when alone, but the sound of his voice terrified him.”

in prosperity prayers seem but a mere medley of words, until misfortune comes and the unhappy sufferer first understands the meaning of the sublime language in which he invokes the pity of heaven!”

<Yes, yes,> continued he, <’Twill be the same as it was in England. After Charles I, Cromwell; after Cromwell, Charles II, and then James II, and then some son-in-law or relation, some Prince of Orange, a stadtholder¹ who becomes a king. Then new concessions to the people, then a constitution, then liberty. Ah, my friend!> said the abbé, turning towards Dantes, and surveying him with the kindling gaze of a prophet, <you are young, you will see all this come to pass.>”

¹ Magistrado de província holandesa

<But wherefore are you here?>

<Because in 1807 I dreamed of the very plan Napoleon tried to realize in 1811; because, like Napoleon, I desired to alter the political face of Italy, and instead of allowing it to be split up into a quantity of petty principalities, each held by some weak or tyrannical ruler, I sought to form one large, compact and powerful empire; and lastly, because I fancied I had found Caesar Borgia in a crowned simpleton, who feigned to enter into my views only to betray me. It was the plan of Alexander VI, but it will never succeed now, for they attempted it fruitlessly, and Napoleon was unable to complete his work. Italy seems fated to misfortune.> And the old man bowed his head.

Dantes could not understand a man risking his life for such matters. Napoleon certainly he knew something of, inasmuch as he had seen and spoken with him; but of Clement VII and Alexander VI he knew nothing.

<Are you not,> he asked, <the priest who here in the Chateau d’If is generally thought to be – ill?>

<Mad, you mean, don’t you?>

<I did not like to say so,> answered D., smiling.”

In the 1st place, I was 4 years making the tools I possess, and have been 2 years scraping and digging out earth, hard as granite itself; then what toil and fatigue has it not been to remove huge stones I should once have deemed impossible to loosen.”

Another, other and less stronger than he, had attempted what he had not had sufficient resolution to undertake, and had failed only because of an error in calculation.”

<When you pay me a visit in my cell, my young friend,> said he, <I will show you an entire work, the fruits of the thoughts and reflections of my whole life; many of them meditated over in the Colosseum at Rome, at the foot of St. Mark’s columm at Venice, little imagining at the time that they would be arranged in order within the walls of the Chateau d’If. The work I speak is called ‘A Treatise on the Possibility of a General Monarchy in Italy,’ and will make one large quarto volume.>”

I had nearly 5.000 volumes in my library at Rome; but after reading them over many times, I found out that with 150 well-chosen books a man possesses if not a complete summary of all human knowledge, at least all that a man need really know. I devoted 3 years of my life to reading and studying these 150 volumes, till I knew them nearly by heart; so that since I have been in prison, a very slight effort of memory has enabled me to recall their contents as readily as though the pages were open before me. I could recite you the whole of Thucidides, Xenophon, Plutarch, Titus Livius, Tacitus, Strada, Jornandes [Jordanes], Dante, Montaigne, Shakespeare, Spinoza, Machiavelli, and Bossuet.”

Yes, I speak 5 of the modern tongues – that is to say, German, French, Italian, English and Spanish; by the aid of ancient Greek I learned modern Greek – I don’t speak so well asI could wish, but I am still trying to improve myself.” “Improve yourself!” repeated Dantes; “why, how can you manage to do so?”

This last explanation was wholly lost upon Dantes, who had always imagined, from seeing the sun rise from behind the mountains and set in the Mediterranean, that it moved, and not the earth. A double movement of the globo he inhabited, and of which he could feel nothing, appeared to him perfectly impossible.”

Should I ever get out of prison and find in all Italy a printer courageous enough to publish what I have composed, my literary reputation is forever secured.”

What would you not have accomplished if you had been free?”

Possibly nothing at all; the overflow of my brain would probably, in a state of freedom, have evaporated in a 1,000 follies; misfortune is needed to bring to light the treasure of the human intellect. Compression is needed to explode gunpowder. Captivity has brought my mental faculties to a focus”

<if you visit to discover the author of any bad action, seek first to discover the person to whom the perpetration of that bad action could be in any way advantageous. Now, to apply it in your case, – to whom could your disappearance have been serviceable?>

<To no one, by heaven! I was a very insignificant person.>

<Do not speak thus, for your reply evinces neither logic nor philosophy; everything is relative, my dear young friend, from the king who stands in the way of his successor, to the employee who keeps his rival out of a place. Now, in the event of the king’s death, his successor inherits a crown, – when the employee dies, the supernumerary steps into his shoes, and receives his salary of 12.000 livres. Well, these 12.000 livres are his civil list, and are as essential to him as 12.000.000 of a king. Every one, from the highest to the lowest degree, has his place on the social ladder, and is beset by stormy passions and conflicting interests, as in Descartes’ theory of pressure and impulsion.” efeito borboleta parte I “But these forces increase as we go higher, so that we have a spiral which in defiance of reason rests upon the apex and not on the base.”

<Simply because that accusation had been written with the left hand, and I have noticed that> –


<That while the writing of different persons done with the right hand varies, that performed with the left hand is invariably uniform.>”

That is in strict accordance with the Spanish character; an assassination they will unhesitatingly commit, but an act of cowardice never.”

Pray ask me whatever questions you please; for, in good truth, you see more clearly into my life than I do myself.”

<About six or seven and twenty years of age, I should say.>

<So,> anwered the abbé. <Old enough to be ambitious, but too young to be corrupt. And how did he treat you?>”

<That alters the case. Tis man might, after all, be a greater scoundrel than you have thought possible>

<Upon my word,> said Dantes, <you make me shudder. Is the world filled with tigers and crocodiles?>

<Yes; and remember that two-legged tigers and crocodiles are more dangerous than the others.>

Had a thunderbolt fallen at the feet of D., or hell opened its yawining gulf before him, he could not have been more completely transfixed with horror than he was at the sound of these unexpected words. Starting up he clasped his hands around his head as though to prevent his very brain from bursting, and exclaimed, <His father! his father!>”

D. was at lenght roused from his revery by the voice of Faria, who, having also been visited by his jailer, had come to invite his fellow-sufferer to share his supper. The reputation of being out of his mind though harmlessly and even amusingly so, had procured for the abbé unusual privileges. He was supplied with bread of a finer whiter quality than the usual prison fare, and even regaled each Sunday with a small quantity of wine.”

The elder prisoner was one of those persons whose conversation, like that of all who have experienced many trials, contained many usefel and important hints as well as sound information; but it was never egotistical, for the unfortunate man never alluded to his own sorrows. D. listened with admiring attention to all he said; some of his remarks corresponded with what he already knew, or applied to the sort of knowledge his nautical life had enabled him to acquire.”

I can well believe that so learned a person as yourself would prefer absolute solitude to being tormented with the company of one as ignorant and uninformed as myself.”

The abbé smiled: <Alas, my boy,> said he, <human knowledge is confined within very narrow limits; and when I have taught you mathematics, physics, history, and the 3 or 4 modern languages with which I am acquainted, you will know as much as I do myself. Now, it will scarcely require 2 years for me to communicate to you the stock of learnings I possess.>”

<Not their application, certainly, but their principles you may; to learn is not to know; there are the learners and the learned. Memory makes the one, philosophy the other.>

<But cannot one learn philosophy?>

<Philosophy cannot be taught; it is the application of the sciences to truth; it is like the golden cloud in which the Messiah went up into heaven.>”

An that very evening the prisoners sketched a plan of education, to be entered upon the following day. D. possessed a prodigious memory, combined with an astonishing quickness and readiness of conception; the mathematicla turn of his mind rendered him apt at al all kinds of calculation, while his naturally poetical feelings threw a light and pleasing veil over the dry reality of arithmetical computation, or the rigid severity of geometry. He already knew Italian, and had also picked up a little of the Romaic dialect during voyages to the East; and by the aid of these 2 languages he easily comprehended the construction of all the others, so that at the end of 6 months he began to speak Spanish, English, and German. In strict accordance with the promise made to the abbé, D. spoke no more of escape. Perhaps the delight his studies afforded him left no room for such thoughts; perhaps the recollection that he had pledged his word (on which his sense of honor was keen) kept him from referring in any way to the possibilities of flight. Days, even months, passed by unheeded in one rapid and instructive course. At the end of a year D. was a new man. D. observed, however, that Faria, in spite of the relief his society afforded, daily grew sadder; one thought seemed incessantly to harass and distract his mind. Sometimes he would fall into long reveries, sigh heavily and involuntarily, then suddenly rise, and, with folded arms, begin pacing the confined space of his dungeon. One day he stopped all at once, and exclaimed, <Ah, if there were no sentinel!>”

Esse tesouro, que deve corresponder a dois… de coroas romanas no mais afastado a… da segunda abertura co… declara pertencer a ele som… herdeiro. <25 de Abril, 149-”

Eu ouvi freqüentemente a frase <Tão rico como um Spada.>” “Ali, no 20º capítulo de a Vida do Papa Alexandre VI, constavam as seguintes linhas, que jamais poderei esquecer: – <As grandes guerras da Romagna terminaram; César Bórgia, que completou suas conquistas, precisava de dinheiro para adquirir a Itália inteira. O papa também precisava de dinheiro para liquidar seus problemas com Luís XII, Rei da França, que ainda era formidável a despeito de seus recentes reveses; e era necessário, portanto, recorrer a algum esquema rentável, o que era um problema de grande dificuldade nas condições de pauperização de uma exausta Itália. Sua santidade teve uma idéia. Ele resolveu fazer dois cardeais.

Ao escolher duas das maiores personagens de Roma, homens especialmente ricos – esse era o retorno pelo qual o pai santíssimo esperava. Primeiramente, ele poderia vender as grandes posições e esplêndidos ofícios que os cardeais já possuíam; e depois ele teria ainda dois chapéus para vender. Havia um terceiro ponto em vista, que logo aparecerá na narrativa. O papa e César Bórgia primeiro acharam os dois futuros cardeais; eles eram Giovanni Rospigliosi, que portava 4 das mais altas dignidades da Santa Sé; e César Spada, um dos mais nobres e ricos da nobreza romana; ambos sentiram a alta honraria de tal favor do papa. Eles eram ambiciosos, e César Bórgia logo encontrou compradores para suas posições. O resultado foi que Rospigliosi e Spada pagaram para ser cardeais, e 8 outras pessoas pagaram pelos ofícios que os cardeais tinham ante sua elevação; destarte 800.000 coroas entraram nos cofres dos especuladores.

É tempo agora de proceder à última parte da especulação. O papa encheu Rospigliosi e Spada de atenções, conferiu-lhes a insígnia do cardinalato, e os induziu a organizar seus negócios de forma a se mudarem para Roma. É aí que o papa e César Bórgia convidam os dois cardeais para jantar. Esse era um problema de disputa entre o santo pai e seu filho. César pensava que eles poderiam se utilizar de um dos meios que ele sempre tinha preparado para os amigos, i.e., em primeiro lugar, a famosa chave que era dada a certas pessoas com o pedido de que fossem e abrissem o armário equivalente. Essa chave era dotada de uma pequena ponta de ferro, – uma negligência da parte do chaveiro. Quando ela era pressionada a fim de abrir-se o armário, do qual a fechadura era complicada, a pessoa era picada por essa pontinha, e morria no dia seguinte. Havia também o anel com a cabeça de leão, que César usava quando queria cumprimentar seus amigos com um aperto de mão. O leão mordia a mão do assim favorecido, e ao cabo de 24h, a mordida se mostrava mortal. César propôs ao seu pai, que ou eles deveriam pedir aos cardeais para abrir o armário, ou apertar suas mãos; mas Alexandre VI respondeu: <Quanto aos valongos cardeais, Spada e Rospigliosi, convidemo-los para jantar, algo me diz que conseguiremos esse dinheiro de volta. Além disso, esquece-te, ó César, que uma indigestão se declara imediatamente, enquanto uma picada ou uma mordida ocasionam um atraso de um dia ou dois.> César recuou de tão convincente raciocínio, e os cardeais foram conseqüentemente chamados para jantar.

A mesa foi servida num vinhedo pertencente ao papa, perto de San Pierdarena, um retiro encantador que os cardeais conheciam de ouvir falar. Rospigliosi, bem disposto graças a suas novas dignidades, chegou com um bom apetite e suas maneiras mais obsequiosas. Spada, um homem prudente, e muito apegado a seu único sobrinho, um jovem capitão da mais alta promessa, pegou papel e caneta, e redigiu seu testamento. E depois mandou avisar o seu sobrinho para esperá-lo próximo ao vinhedo; mas aparentemente o servo não foi capaz de encontrá-lo.

Spada sabia o que esses convites significavam; desde a Cristandade, tão eminentemente civilizada, se alastrou por toda Roma, não era mais um centurião que vinha da parte do tirano com uma mensagem, <César quer que você morra.> mas era um núncio apostólico a latere, que vinha com um sorriso nos lábios para dizer, pelo papa, que <Sua santidade solicita sua presença num jantar.>

Spada se dirigiu lá pelas 2 a San Pierdarena. O papa o esperava. A primeira imagem a atrair a atenção de Spada foi a do seu sobrinho, todo paramentado, e César Bórgia cativando-o com as atenções mais marcadas. Spada empalideceu quando César o fitou com ar irônico, o que provava que ele havia antecipado tudo, e que a armadilha já estava em funcionamento.

Eles começaram a jantar e Spada foi capaz de indagar, somente, de seu sobrinho se ele tinha recebido sua mensagem. O sobrinho respondeu que não; compreendendo perfeitamente o significado da pergunta. Era tarde demais, já que ele já tinha tomado um copo de um excelente vinho, selecionado para ele expressamente pelo copeiro do papa. Spada testemunhou ao mesmo tempo outra garrafa, vindo a si, que ele foi premido a provar. Uma hora depois um médico declarou que ambos estavam envenenados por comer cogumelos. Spada morreu no limiar do vinhedo; o sobrinho expirou na sua própria porta, fazendo sinais que sua mulher não pôde compreender.

A seguir César e o papa se apressaram para botar as mãos na herança, sob o disfarce de estarem à procura de papéis do homem morto. Mas a herança consistia disso somente, um pedaço de papel em que Spada escreveu: -<Eu lego a meu amado sobrinho meus cofres, meus livros, e, entre outros, meu breviário com orelhas de ouro, que eu espero que ele preserve em consideração de seu querido tio.>

Os herdeiros procuraram em todo lugar, admiraram o breviário, se apropriaram dos móveis, e se espantaram grandemente de que Spada, o homem rico, era de fato o mais miserável dos tios – nenhum tesouro – e não ser que fossem os da ciência, contidos na biblioteca e laboratórios. Isso era tudo. César e seu pai procuraram, examinaram, escrutinaram, mas nada acharam, ou pelo menos muito pouco; nada que excedesse alguns milhares de coroas em prata, e aproximadamente o mesmo em dinheiro corrente; mas o sobrinho teve tempo de dizer a sua esposa, antes de morrer: <Procure direito entre os papéis do meu tio; há um testamento.>

Eles procuraram até mais meticulosamente do que os augustos herdeiros o fizeram, mas foi infrutífero. Havia dois palácios e um vinhedo atrás da Colina Palatina; mas nesses dias a propriedade da terra não tinha assim tanto valor, e os 2 palácios e o vinhedo continuaram com a família já que estavam abaixo da rapacidade do papa e seu filho. Meses e anos se passaram. Alexandre VI morreu, envenenado, – você sabe por qual erro. César, envenenado também, escapou desfolhando sua pele como a de uma cobra; mas a pele de baixo ficou marcada pelo veneno até se parecer com a de um tigre. Então, compelido a deixar Roma, ele acabou morto obscuramente numa escaramuça noturna; quase sem registros históricos. Depois da morte do papa e do exílio de seu filho, supôs-se que a família Spada voltaria ao esplendor dos tempos anteriores aos do cardeal; mas não foi o caso. Os Spada permaneceram em um conforto duvidoso, um mistério seguiu pairando sobre esse tema escuso, e o rumor público era que César, um político mais talentoso que seu pai, havia retirado do papa a fortuna dos 2 cardeais. Eu digo dos 2, porque o Cardeal Rospigliosi, que não tomara nenhuma precaução, foi completamente espoliado.”

Eu estava então quase certo de que a herança não ficara nem para os Bórgias nem para a família, mas se mantivera sem dono como os tesouros das 1001 Noites, que dormiam no seio da terra sob os olhos do gênio.”

esses caracteres foram traçados numa tinta misteriosa e simpática, que só aparecia ao ser exposta ao fogo; aproximadamente 1/3 do papel foi consumido pelas chamas.”

<2 milhões de coroas romanas; quase 13 milhões, no nosso dinheiro.” [*]

[*] $2.600.000 em 1894.”

Then an invincible and extreme terror seized upon him, and he dared not again press the hand that hung out of bed, he dared no longer to gaze on those fixed and vacant eyes, which he tried many times to close, but in vain – they opened again as soon as shut.”

<They say every year adds half a pound to the weight of the bones,> said another, lifting the feet.”

The sea is the cemetery of the Chateau d’If.”

It was 14 years day for day since Dantes’ arrest.”

At this period it was not the fashion to wear so large a beard and hair so long; now a barber would only be surprised if a man gifted with such advantages should consent voluntarily to deprive himself of them.”

The oval face was lengthened, his smiling mouth had assumed the firm and marked lines which betoken resolution; his eyebrows were arched beneath a brow furrowed with thought; his eyes were full of melancholy, and from their depths ocasionally sparkled gloomy fires of misanthropy and hatred; his complexion, so long kept from the sun, had now that pale color which produces, when the features are encircled with black hair, the aristocratic beauty of the man of the north; the profound learning he had acquired had besided diffused over his features a refined intellectual expression; and he had also acquired, being naturally of a goodly stature, that vigor which a frame possesses which has so long concentrated all its force within himself.”

Moreover, from being so long in twilight or darkness, his eyes had acquired the faculty of distinguishing objects in the night, common to the hyena and the wolf.”

it was impossible that his best friend – if, indeed, he had any friend left – could recognize him; he could not recognize himself.”

Fortunately, D. had learned how to wait; he had waited 14 years for his liberty, and now he was free he could wait at least 6 months or a year for wealth. Would he not have accepted liberty without riches if it had been offered him? Besides, were not those riches chimerical? – offspring of the brain of the poor Abbé Faria, had they not died with him?”

The patron of The Young Amelia proposed as a place of landing the Island of Monte Cristo, which being completely deserted, and having neither soldiers nor revenue officers, seemed to have been placed in the midst of the ocean since the time of the heathen Olympus by Mercury, the god of merchants and robbers, classes of mankind which we in modern times have separated if not made distinct, but which antiquity appears to have included in the same category” Tal pai, tal filho: vejo que um Dumas citou o outro, cf. o destino me comandou saber, por estar lendo A Dama das Camélias em simultaneidade – Jr. dissera a dado ponto, também inicial, de sua narrativa que era bom e inteligente que ladrões e comerciantes possuíssem antigamente o mesmo Deus, e que isso não era simples contingência histórica… Até aí, pensava tratar-se de Mammon, comentando o espúrio estilo de vida judio.

e qual solidão é mais completa, ou mais poética, que a de um navio flutuando isolado sobre as águas do mar enquanto reina a obscuridade da noite, no silêncio da imensidão, e sob o olhar dos Céus?”

Nunca um viciado em jogo, cuja fortuna esteja em jogo num lance de dados, chegou a experimentar a angústia que sentiu Edmundo em meio a seus paroxismos de esperança.”

<Em 2h,> ele disse, <essas pessoas vão partir mais ricas em 50 piastres cada, dispostas a arriscar novamente suas vidas só para conseguir outros 50; então retornarão com uma fortuna de 600 francos e desperdiçarão esse tesouro nalgum vilarejo, com aquele orgulho dos sultões e a insolência dos nababos.”

a providência, que, ao limitar os poderes do homem, gratifica-o ao mesmo tempo com desejos insaciáveis.”

<E agora,> ele exclamou, relembrando o conto do pescador árabe, que Faria relatou, <agora, abre-te sésamo!>”

o pavor – aquele pavor da luz do dia que mesmo no deserto nos faz temer estarmos sendo vigiados e observados.”

dentes brancos como os de um animal carnívoro”

seu marido mantinha sua tocaia diária na porta – uma obrigação que ele executava com tanta mais vontade, já que o salvava de ter de escutar os murmúrios e lamentos da companheira, que nunca o viu sem dirigir amargas invectivas contra o destino”

<And you followed the business of a tailor?>

<True, I was a tailor, till the trade fell off. It is so hot at Marseilles, that really I believe that the respectable inhabitants will in time go without any clothing whatever. But talking of heat, is there nothing I can offer you by way of refreshment?>”

<Too true, too true!> ejaculated Caderousse, almost suffocated by the contending passions which assailed him, <the poor old man did die.>”

Os próprios cães que perambulam sem abrigo e sem casa pelas ruas encontram mãos piedosas que oferecem uma mancheia de pão; e esse homem, um cristão, deviam permitir perecer de fome no meio de outros homens que se autodenominam cristãos? é terrível demais para acreditar. Ah, é impossível – definitivamente impossível!”

Eu não consigo evitar ter mais medo da maldição dos mortos que do ódio dos vivos.”

Hold your tongue, woman; it is the will of God.”

Happiness or unhappiness is the secret known but to one’s self and the walls – walls have ears but no tongue”

<Com isso então,> disse o abade, com um sorriso amargo, <isso então dá 18 meses no total. O que mais o mais devoto dos amantes poderia desejar?> Então ele murmurou as palavras do poeta inglês, <Volubilidade, seu nome é mulher.>

<no doubt fortune and honors have comforted her; she is rich, a countess, and yet–> Caderousse paused.”

Maneiras, maneiras de dizer asneiras…

Memorial de Buenos Aires

O aras à beira…

Bonaire de mademoiselle

Gastão amável que me acende o fogo!









VANIGRACISMO [s.m., origem desconhecida; suspeita-se que guarde relação com vanitas, do latim <vaidade>]: espécie de atavismo do mal; inclinação ou tendência à reprise na crença de dogmas ultrapassados, como a pregação extremada do amor de Cristo ou o apego a regimes e práticas totalitários de forma geral. Duas faces do mesmo fenômeno. Nostalgia do Líder Supremo ou de coletivismos tornados impossíveis ou inexistentes nas democracias de massa, capitalismo avançado ou fase agônica do Ocidente.

        Adeptos são identificados sob a alcunha de vanigra.


        Os vanigras brasileiros da década de 10 desejavam a conclamação de Bolsonaro como o Pai Nacional.

        O vanigra praguejou seu semelhante com a condenação ao Inferno no seu pós-vida, graças a suas condutas imorais.


vanigger – Corruptela de vanigra, utilizada para designar negros conservadores que insultavam a memória e o passado histórico de seus ancestrais escravos, ao professarem  credos como os supracitados (cristianismo, fascismo, etc.), invenções do homem branco europeu.

* * *

In business, sir, said he, one has no friends, only correspondents”

the tenacity peculiar to prophets of bad news”

It was said at this moment that Danglars was worth from 6 to 8 millions of francs, and had unlimited credit.”

Her innocence had kept her in ignorance of the dangers that might assail a young girl of her age.”

And now, said the unknown, farewell kindness, humanity and gratitude! Farewell to all the feelings that expand the heart! I have been heaven’s substitute to recompense the good – now the god of vengeance yields me his power to punish the wicked!”

in 5 minutes nothing but the eye of God can see the vessel where she lies at the bottom of the sea.”

He was one of those men who do not rashly court danger, but if danger presents itself, combat it with the most unalterable coolness.”

The Italian s’accommodi is untranslatable; it means at once <Como, enter, you are welcome; make yourself at home; you are the master.>”

he was condemned by the by to have his tongue cut out, and his hand and head cut off; the tongue the 1st day, the hand the 2nd, and the head the 3rd. I always had a desire to have a mute in my service, so learning the day his tongue was cut out, I went to the bey [governador otomano], and proposed to give him for Ali a splendid double-barreled gun which I knew he was very desirous of having.”

I? – I live the happiest life possible, the real life of a pasha. I am king of all creation. I am pleased with one place, and stay there; I get tired of it, and leave it; I am free as a bird and have wings like one; my attendants obey my slightest wish.”

What these happy persons took for reality was but a dream; but it was a dream so soft, so voluptuous, so enthralling, that they sold themselves body and soul to him who have it to them, and obedient to his orders as to those of a deity, struck down the designated victim, died in torture without a murmur, believing that the death they underwent was but a quick transtion to that life of delights of which the holy herb, now before you, had given them a slight foretaste.”

<Then,> cried Franz, <it is hashish! I know that – by name at least.>

<That it is precisely, Signor Aladdin; it is hashish – the purest and most unadulterated hashish of Alexandria, – the hashish of Abou-Gor, the celebrated maker, the only man, the man to whom there should be built a palace, inscribed with these words, <A grateful world to the dealer in happiness.>

Nature subdued must yield in the combat, the dream must succeed [suck-seed] to reality, and then the dream reigns supreme, then the dream becomes life, and life becomes the dream.”

When you return to this mundane sphere from your visionary world, you would seem to leave a Neapolitan spring for a Lapland winter – to quit paradise for earth – heaven for hell! Taste the hashish, guest of mine – taste the hashish.”

Tell me, the 1st time you tasted oysters, tea, porter, truffles, and sundry other dainties which you now adore, did you like them? Could you comprehend how the Romans stuffed their pheasants [faisões] with assafoetida (sic – asafoetida) [planta fétida, mas saborosa], and the Chinese eat swallow’s nests? [ninhos de andorinhas] Eh? no! Well, it is the same with hashish; only eat for a week, and nothing in the world will seem to you equal the delicacy of its flavor, which now appears to you flat and distasteful.”

there was no need to smoke the same pipe twice.”

that mute revery, into which we always sink when smoking excellent tobacco, which seems to remove with its fume all the troubles of the mind, and to give the smoker in exchange all the visions of the soul. Ali brought in the coffee. <How do you take it?> inquired the unknown; <in the French or Turkish style, strong or weak, sugar or none, coal or boiling? As you please; it is ready in all ways.>”

it shows you have a tendency for an Oriental life. Ah, those Orientals; they are the only men who know how to live. As for me, he added, with one of those singular smiles which did not escape the young man, when I have completed my affairs in Paris, I shall go and die in the East; and should you wish to see me again, you must seek me at Cairo, Bagdad, or Ispahan.”

Well, unfurl your wings, and fly into superhuman regions; fear nothing, there is a watch over you; and if your wings, like those of Icarus, melt before the sun, we are here to ease your fall.”

o tempo é testemunha

1001 Noites

The Count of Sinbad Cristo

Oh, ele não teme nem Deus nem Satã, dizem, e percorreria 50 ligas fora de seu curso só para prestar um favor a qualquer pobre diabo.”

em Roma há 4 grandes eventos todos os anos, – o Carnaval, a Semana Santa, Corpus Christi, o Festival de São Pedro. Durante todo o resto do ano a idade está naquele estado de apatia profunda, entre a vida e a morte, que a deixa parecida com uma estação entre esse mundo e o próximo”

<Para São Pedro primeiro, e depois o Coliseu,> retorquiu Albert. Mas Albrto não sabia que leva um dia para ver [a Basílica de] S. Pedro, e um mês para estudá-la. O dia foi todo passado lá.”

Quando mostramos a um amigo uma cidade que já visitamos, sentimos o mesmo orgulho de quando apontamos na rua uma mulher da qual fomos o amante.”

mulher amantizada”, aliás (livro de Dumas Filho) é o melhor eufemismo de todos os tempos!

<em Roma as coisas podem ou não podem ser feitas; quando se diz que algo não pode ser feito, acaba ali>

<É muito mais conveniente em Paris, – quando qualquer coisa não pode ser feita, você paga o dobro, e logo ela está feita.>

<É o que todo francês fala,> devolveu o Signor Pastrini, que acusou o golpe; <por essa razão, não entendo por que eles viajam.> (…)

<Homens em seu juízo perfeito não deixam seu hotel na Rue du Helder, suas caminhadas no Boulevard de Grand, e Café de Paris.>”

<Mas se vossa excelência contesta minha veracidade> – <Signor Pastrini,> atalhou Franz, <você é mais suscetível que Cassandra, que era uma profetisa, e ainda assim ninguém acreditava nela; enquanto que você, pelo menos, está seguro do crédito de metade de sua audiência [a metade de 2 é 1]. Venha, sente-se, e conte-nos tudo que sabe sobre esse Signor Vampa.>”

<O que acha disso, Albert? – aos 2-e-20 ser tão famoso?>

<Pois é, e olha que nessa idade Alexandre, César e Napoleão, que, todos, fizeram algum barulho no mundo, estavam bem detrás dele.>”

Em todo país em que a independência tomou o lugar da liberdade, o primeiro desejo dum coração varonil é possuir uma arma, que de uma só vez torna seu dono capaz de se defender e atacar, e, transformando-o em alguém terrível, com freqüência o torna temido.”

O homem de habilidades superiores sempre acha admiradores, vá onde for.”


As leis dos bandidos [dos fora-da-lei] são positivas; uma jovem donzela pertence ao primeiro que levá-la, então o restante do bando deve tirar a sorte, no que ela é abandonada a sua brutalidade até a morte encerrar seus sofrimentos. Quando seus pais são suficientemente ricos para pagar um resgate, um mensageiro é enviado para negociar; o prisioneiro é refém pela segurança do mensageiro; se o resgate for recusado, o refém está irrevogavelmente perdido.”

Os mensageiros naturais dos bandidos são os pastores que habitam entre a cidade e as montanhas, entre a vida civilizada e a selvagem.”

<Tiremos a sorte! Tiremos a sorte!> berraram todos os criminosos ao verem o chefe. Sua demanda era justa e o chefe reclinou a cabeça em sinal de aprovação. Os olhos de todos brilharam terrivelmente, e a luz vermelha da fogueira só os fazia parecer uns demônios. O nome de cada um incluído o de Carlini, foi colocado num chapéu, e o mais jovem do bando retirou um papel; e ele trazia o nome de Diovolaccio¹. Foi ele quem propôs a Carlini o brinde ao chefe, e a quem Carlini reagiu quebrando o copo na sua cara. Uma ferida enorme, da testa à boca, sangrava em profusão. Diovolaccio, sentindo-se favorecido pela fortuna, explodiu em uma gargalhada. <Capitão,> disse, <ainda agora Carlini não quis beber à vossa saúde quando eu propus; proponha a minha a ele, e veremos se ele será mais condescendente consigo que comigo.> Todos aguardavam uma explosão da parte de Carlini; mas para a surpresa de todos ele pegou um copo numa mão e o frasco na outra e, enchendo o primeiro, – <A sua saúde, Diavolaccio²,> pronunciou calmamente, e ele entornou tudo, sem que sua mão sequer tremesse. (…) Carlini comeu e bebeu como se nada tivesse acontecido. (…) Uma faca foi plantada até o cabo no peito esquerdo de Rita. Todos olharam para Carlini; a bainha em seu cinto estava vazia. <Ah, ah,> disse o chefe, <agora entendo por que Carlini ficou para trás.> Todas as naturezas selvagens apreciam uma ação desesperada. Nenhum outro dos bandidos, talvez, fizesse o mesmo; mas todos entenderam o que Carlini fez. <Agora, então,> berrou Carlini, levantando-se por sua vez, aproximando-se do cadáver, sua mão na coronha de uma de suas pistolas, <alguém disputa a posse dessa mulher comigo?> – <Não,> respondeu o chefe, <ela é tua.>”

¹ Corruptela de demônio em Italiano

² Aqui o interlocutor, seu inimigo desde o sorteio, pronuncia o nome como o substantivo correto: diabo, demônio.

<Cucumetto violentou sua filha,> disse o bandido; <eu a amava, destarte matei-a; pois ela serviria para entreter a quadrilha inteira.> O velho não disse nada mas empalideceu como a morte. <Então,> continuou, <se fiz mal, vingue-a;>”

Mas Carlini não deixou a floresta sem saber o paradeiro do pai de Rita. Foi até o lugar onde o deixara na noite anterior. E encontrou o homem suspenso por um dos galhos, do mesmo carvalho que ensombreava o túmulo de sua filha. Então ele fez um amargo juramento de vingança sobre o corpo morto de uma e debaixo do corpo do outro. No entanto, Carlini não pôde cumprir sua promessa, porque 2 dias depois, num encontro com carabineiros romanos, Carlini foi assassinado. (…) Na manhã da partida da floresta de Frosinone Cucumetto seguiu Carlini na escuridão, escutou o juramento cheio de ódio, e, como um homem sábio, se antecipou a ele. A gente contou outras dez histórias desse líder de bando, cada uma mais singular que a anterior. Assim, de Fondi a Perusia, todo mundo treme ao ouvir o nome de Cucumetto.”

Cucumetto era um canalha inveterado, que assumiu a forma de um bandido ao invés de uma cobra nesta vida terrana. Como tal, ele adivinhou no olhar de Teresa o signo de uma autêntica filha de Eva, retornando à floresta, interrompendo-se inúmeras vezes sob pretexto de saudar seus protetores. Vários dias se passaram e nenhum sinal de Cucumetto. Chegava a época do Carnaval.”

4 jovens das mais ricas e nobres famílias de Roma acompanhavam as 3 damas com aquela liberdade italiana que não tem paralelo em nenhum outro país.”

Luigi sentia ciúmes! Ele sentiu que, influenciada pela sua disposição ambiciosa e coquete, Teresa poderia escapar-lhe.”

Por que, ela não sabia, mas ela não sentia minimamente que as censuras de seu amado fossem merecidas.”

<Teresa, o que você estava pensando enquanto dançava de frente para a jovem Condessa de San-Felice?> – <Eu estava pensando,> redargüiu a jovem, com toda a franqueza que lhe era natural, <que daria metade da minha vida por um vestido como o dela.>

<Luigi Vampa,> respondeu o pastor, com o mesmo ar daquele que se apresentasse Alexandre, Rei da Macedônia.

<E o seu?> – <Eu,> disse o viajante, <sou chamado Sinbad, o Marinheiro.>

Franz d’Espinay fitou surpreso.”

Sim, mas eu vim pedir mais do que ser vosso companheiro.> – <E o que poderia ser isso?> inquiriram os bandidos, estupefatos. – <Venho solicitar ser vosso capitão,> disse o jovem. Os bandidos fizeram uma arruaça de risadas. <E o que você fez para aspirar a essa honra?> perguntou o tenente. – <Matei seu chefe, Cucumetto, cujo traje agora visto; e queimei a fazenda San-Felice para pegar o vestido-de-noiva da minha prometida.> Uma hora depois Luigi Vampa era escolhido capitão, vice o finado Cucumetto.”

* * *

Minha casa não seria tão boa se o mundo lá fora não fosse tão ruim.

A vingança tem de começar nalgum lugar: a minha começa no cyberrealm, aqui.

nem é possível, em Roma, evitar essa abundante disposição de guias; além do ordinário cicerone, que cola em você assim que pisa no hotel, e jamais o deixa enquanto permanecer na cidade, há ainda o cicerone especial pertencente a cada monumento – não, praticamente a cada parte de um monumento.”

só os guias estão autorizados a visitar esses monumentos com tochas nas mãos.”

Eu disse, meu bom companheiro, que eu faria mais com um punhado de ouro numa das mãos que você e toda sua tropa poderiam produzir com suas adagas, pistolas, carabinas e canhões incluídos.”

E o que tem isso? Não está um dia dividido em 24h, cada hora em 60 minutos, e todo minuto em 60 segundos? Em 86.400 segundos muita coisa pode acontecer.”

Albert nunca foi capaz de suportar os teatros italianos, com suas orquestras, de onde é impossível ver, e a ausência de balcões, ou camarotes abertos; todos esses defeitos pesavam para um homem que tinha tido sua cabine nos Bouffes, e usufruído de um camarote baixo na Opera.”

Albert deixou Paris com plena convicção de que ele teria apenas de se mostrar na Itáia para ter todos a seus pés, e que em seu retorno ele espantaria o mundo parisiano com a recitação de seus numerosos casos. Ai dele, pobre Albert!”

e tudo que ele ganhou foi a convicção dolorosa de que as madames da Itália têm essa vantagem sobre as da França, a de que são fiéis até em sua infidelidade.”

mas hoje em dia ão é preciso ir tão longe quanto a Noé ao traçar uma linhagem, e uma árvore genealógica é igualmente estimada, date ela de 1399 ou apenas 1815”

A verdade era que os tão aguardados prazeres do Carnaval, com a <semana santa> que o sucederia, enchia cada peito de tal forma que impedia que se prestasse a menor atenção aos negócios no palco. Os atores entravam e saíam despercebidos e ignorados; em determinados momentos convencionais, os expectadores paravam repentinamente suas conversas, ou interrompiam seus divertimentos, para ouvir alguma performance brilhante de Moriani, um recitativo bem-executado por Coselli, ou para aplaudir em efusão os maravilhosos talentos de La Specchia”

<Oh, she is perfectly lovely – what a complexion! And such magnificent hair! Is she French?>

<No, Venetian.>

<And her name is–>

<Countess G——.>

<Ah, I know her by name!> exclaimed Albert; <she is said to possess as much wit and cleverness as beauty. I was to have been presented to her when I met her at Madame Villefort’s ball.>”

believe me, nothing is more fallacious than to form any estimate of the degree of intimacy you may suppose existing among persons by the familiar terms they seem upon”

Por mais que o balé pudesse atrair sua atenção, Franz estava profundamente ocupado com a bela grega para se permitir distrações”

Graças ao judicioso plano de dividir os dois atos da ópera com um balé, a pausa entre as performances é muito curta, tendo os cantores tempo de repousar e trocar de figurino, quando necessário, enquanto os dançarinos executam suas piruetas e exibem seus passos graciosos.”

Maioria dos leitores está ciente [!] de que o 2º ato de <Parisina> abre com um celebrado e efetivo dueto em que Parisina, enquanto dorme, se trai e confessa a Azzo o segredo de seu amor por Ugo. O marido injuriado passa por todos os paroxismos do ciúme, até a firmeza prevalecer em sua mente, e então, num rompante de fúria e indignação, ele acordar sua esposa culpada para contar-lhe que ele sabe de seus sentimentos, e assim infligir-lhe sua vingança. Esse dueto é um dos mais lindos, expressivos e terríveis de que jamais se ouviu emanar da pena de Donizetti. Franz ouvia-o agora pela 3ª vez.”

<Talvez você jamais tenha prestado atenção nele?>

<Que pergunta – tão francesa! Não sabe você que nós italianas só temos olhos para o homem que amamos?>

<É verdade,> respondeu Franz.”

<he looks more like a corpse permitted by some friendly grave-digger to quit his tomb for a while, and revisit this earth of ours, than anything human. How ghastly pale he is!>

<Oh, he is always as colorless as you now see him,> said Franz.

<Then you know him?> almost screamed the countess. <Oh, pray do, for heaven’s sake, tell us all about – is he a vampire, or a ressuscitated corpse, or what?>

<I fancy I have seen him before, and I even think he recognizes me.>”

Vou dizer-lhe, respondeu a condessa. Byron tinha a mais sincera crença na existência de vampiros, e até assegurou a mim que os tinha visto. A descrição que ele me fez corresponde perfeitamente com a aparência e a personalidade daquele homem na nossa frente. Oh, ele é a exata personificação do que eu poderia esperar. O cabelo cor-de-carvão, olhos grandes, claros e faiscantes, em que fogo selvagem, extraterreno parece queimar, — a mesma palidez fantasmal. Observe ainda que a mulher consigo é diferente de qualquer uma do seu sexo. Ela é uma estrangeira – uma estranha. Ninguém sabe quem é, ou de onde ela vem. Sem dúvida ela pertence à mesma raça que ele, e é, como ele, uma praticante das artes mágicas.”

Pela minha alma, essas mulheres confundiriam o próprio Diabo que quisesse desvendá-las. Porque, aqui – elas lhe dão sua mão – elas apertam a sua em correspondência – elas mantêm conversas em sussurros – permitem que você as acompanhe até em casa. Ora, se uma parisiense condescendesse com ¼ dessas coqueterias, sua reputação estaria para sempre perdida.”

Ele era talvez bem pálido, decerto; mas, você sabe, palidez é sempre vista como uma forte prova de descendência aristocrática e casamentos distintos.”

e, a não ser que seu vizinho de porta e quase-amigo, o Conde de Monte Cristo, tivesse o anel de Gyges, e pelo seu poder pudesse ficar invisível, agora era certo que ele não poderia escapar dessa vez.”

O Conde de Monte Cristo é sempre um levantado cedo da cama; e eu posso assegurar que ele já está de pé há duas horas.”

You are thus deprived of seeing a man guillotined; but the mazzuola still remains, which is a very curious punishment when seen for the 1st time, and even the 2nd, while the other, as your must know, is very simple.” [Ver glossário acima.]

do not tell me of European punishments, they are in the infancy, or rather the old age, of cruelty.”

As for myself, I can assure you of one thing, — the more men you see die, the easier it becomes to die yourself” opinion opium onion

do you think the reparation that society gives you is sufficient when it interposes the knife of the guillotine between the base of the occiput and the trapezal muscles of the murderer, and allows him who has caused us years of moral sufferings to escape with a few moments of physical pain?”

Dr. Guillotin got the idea of his famous machine from witnessing an execution in Italy.”

We ought to die together. I was promissed he should die with me. You have no right to put me to death alone. I will not die alone – I will not!”

Oh, man – race of crocodiles, cried the count, extending his clinched hands towards the crowd, how well do I recognize you there, and that at all times you are worthy of yourselves! Lead two sheep to the butcher’s, 2 oxen to the slaughterhouse, and make one of them understand that his companion will not die; the sheep will bleat for pleasure, the ox will bellow with joy. But man – man, whom God has laid his first, his sole commandment, to love his neighbor – man, to whom God has given a voice to express his thoughts – what is his first cry when he hears his fellowman is saved? A blasphemy. Honor to man, this masterpiece of nature, this king of creation! And the count burst into a laugh; a terrible laugh, that showed he must have suffered horribly to be able thus to laugh.”

The bell of Monte Citorio, which only sounds on the pope’s decease and the opening of the Carnival, was ringing a joyous peal.”

On my word, said Franz, you are wise as Nestor and prudent as Ulysses, and your fair Circe must be very skilful or very powerful if she succeed in changing you into a beast of any kind.”

Come, observed the countess, smiling, I see my vampire is only some millionaire, who has taken the appearance of Lara in order to avoid being confounded with M. de Rothschild; and you have seen her?”

without a single accident, a single dispute, or a single fight. The fêtes are veritable pleasure days to the Italians. The author of this history, who has resided 5 or 6 years in Italy, does not recollect to have ever seen a ceremony interrupted by one of those events so common in other countries.”

Se alle sei della mattina le quattro mile piastre non sono nelle mie mani, alla sette il conte Alberto avra cessato di vivere.

Luigi Vampa.

There were in all 6.000 piastres, but of these 6.000 Albert had already expended 3.000. As to Franz, he had no better of credit, as he lived at Florence, and had only come to Rome to pass 7 or 8 days; he had brought but a 100 louis, and of these he had not more than 50 left.”

Well, what good wind blows you hither at this hour?”

I did, indeed.”

Be it so. It is a lovely night, and a walk without Rome will do us both good.”

<Excellency, the Frenchman’s carriage passed several times the one in which was Teresa.>

<The chief’s mistress?>

<Yes. The Frenchman threw her a bouquet; Teresa returned it – all this with the consent of the chief, who was in the carriage.>

<What?> cried Franz, <was Luigi Vampa in the carriage with the Roman peasants?>”

Well, then, the Frenchman took off his mask; Teresa, with the chief’s consent, did the same. The Frenchman asked for a rendez-vous; Teresa gave him one – only, instead of Teresa, it was Beppo who was on the steps of the church of San Giacomo.”

<do you know the catacombs of St. Sebastian?>

<I was never in them; but I have often resolved to visit them.>

<Well, here is an opportunity made to your hand, and it would be difficult to contrive a better.>”

remember, for the future, Napoleon’s maxim, <Never awaken me but for bad news;> if you had let me sleep on, I should have finished my galop [dança de salão], and have been grateful to you all my life.”

<Has your excellency anything to ask me?> said Vampa with a smile.

<Yes, I have,> replied Franz; <I am curious to know what work you were perusing with so much attention as we entered.>

<Caesar’s ‘Commentaries,’> said the bandit, <it is my favorite work.>”

não há nação como a francesa que possa sorrir mesmo na cara da terrível Morte em pessoa.”

Apenas pergunte a si mesmo, meu bom amigo, se não acontece com muitas pessoas de nosso estrato que assumam nomes de terras e propriedades em que nunca foram senhores?”

a vista do que está acontecendo é necessária aos homens jovens, que sempre estão dispostos a ver o mundo atravessar seus horizontes, mesmo se esse horizonte é só uma via pública.”

foils, boxing-gloves, broadswords, and single-sticks – for following the example of the fashionable young men of the time, Albert de Morcerf cultivated, with far more perseverance than music and drawing, the 3 arts that complete a dandy’s education, i.e., fencing [esgrima], boxing, and single-stick”

In the centre of the room was a Roller and Blanchet <baby grand> piano in rosewood, but holding the potentialities of an orchestra in its narrow and sonorous cavity, and groaning beneath the weight of the chefs-d’oeuvre of Beethoven, Weber, Mozart, Haydn, Gretry, and Porpora.”

There on a table, surrounded at some distance by a large and luxurious divan, every species of tobacco known, – from the yellow tobacco of Petersburg to the black of Sinai, and so on along the scale from Maryland and Porto-Rico, to Latakia, – was exposed in pots of crackled earthenware [cerâmica] of which the Dutch are so fond; beside them, in boxes of fragrant wood, were ranged, according to their size and quality, pueros, regalias, havanas, and manillas; and, in an open cabinet, a collection of German pipes, of chibouques [cachimbo turco], with their amber mouth-pieces ornamented with coral, and of narghilés, with their long tubes of morocco, awaiting the caprice of the sympathy of the smokers.”

after coffee, the guests at a breakfast of modern days love to contemplate through the vapor that escapes from their mouths, and ascends in long and fanficul wreaths to the ceiling.”

A única diferença entre Jesus Cristo e eu é que uma cruz o carregava – eu é que carrego a minha cruz.

<Are you hungry?>

<Humiliating as such a confession is, I am. But I dined at M. de Villefort’s, and lawyers always give you very bad dinners. You would think they felt some remorse; did you ever remark that?>

<Ah, depreciate other persons’ dinners; you ministers give such splendid ones.>”

<Willingly. Your Spanish wine is excellent. You see we were quite right to pacify that country.>

<Yes, but Don Carlos?>

<Well, Don Carlos will drink Bordeaux, and in years we will marry his son to the little queen.>”

Recollect that Parisian gossip has spoken of a marriage between myself and Mlle. Eugenie Danglars”

<The king has made him a baron, and can make him a peer [cavalheiro], but he cannot make him a gentleman, and the Count of Morcerf is too aristocratic to consent, for the paltry sum of 2 million francs to a mesalliance [‘desaliança’, casamento com um malnascido]. The Viscount of Morcerf can only wed a marchioness.>

<But 2 million francs make a nice little sum,> replied Morcerf.”

<Nevermind what he says, Morcerf,> said Debray, <do you marry her. You marry a money-bag label, it is true; well but what does that matter? It is better to have a blazon less and a figure more on it. You have seven martlets on your arms; give 3 to your wife, and you will still have 4; that is 1 more than M. de Guise had, who so nearly became King of France, and whose cousin was emperor of Germany.>”

além do mais, todo milionário é tão nobre quanto um bastardo – i.e., ele pode ser.”

<M. de Chateau-Renaud – M. Maximilian Morrel,> said the servant, announcing 2 fresh guests.”

a vida não merece ser falada! – isso é um pouco filosófico demais, minha palavra, Morrel. Fica bem para você, que arrisca sua vida todo dia, mas para mim, que só o fez uma vez—“

<No, his horse; of which we each of us ate a slice with a hearty appetite. It was very hard.>

<The horse?> said Morcerf, laughing.

<No, the sacrifice,> returned Chateau-Renaud; <ask Debray if he would sacrifice his English steed for a stranger?>

<Not for a stranger,> said Debray, <but for a friend I might, perhaps.>”

hoje vamos encher nossos estômagos, e não nossas memórias.”

<Ah, this gentleman is a Hercules killing Cacus, a Perseus freeing Andromeda.>

<No, he is a man about my own size.>

<Armed to the teeth?>

<He had not even a knitting-needle [agulha de tricô].>”

He comes possibly from the Holy Land, and one of his ancestors possessed Calvary, as the Mortemarts(*) did the Dead Sea.”

(*) Wiki: “Anne de Rochechouart de Mortemart (1847-1933), duchess of Uzès, held one of the biggest fortunes in Europe, spending a large part of it on financing general Boulanger’s political career in 1890. A great lady of the world, she wrote a dozen novels and was the 1st French woman to possess a driving licence.”

Motto: “Avant que la mer fût au monde, Rochechouart portait les ondes”

<he has purchased the title of count somewhere in Tuscany?>

<He is rich, then?>

<Have you read the ‘Arabian Nights’?>

<What a question!>”

he calls himself Sinbad the Sailor, and has a cave filled with gold.”

<Pardieu, every one exists.>

<Doubtless, but in the same way; every one has not black salves, a princely retinue, an arsenal of weapons that would do credit to an Arabian fortress, horses that cost 6.000 francs apiece, and Greek mistresses.>”

<Did he not conduct you to the ruins of the Colosseum and suck your blood?> asked Beauchamp.

<Or, having delivered you, make you sign a flaming parchment, surrendering your soul to him as Esau did his birth-right?>”

The count appeared, dressed with the greatest simplicity, but the most fastidious dandy could have found nothing to cavil [escarnecer] at in his toilet. Every article of dress – hat, coat, gloves, and boots – was from the 1st makers. He seemed scarcely five-and-thirty. But what struck everybody was his extreme resemblance to the portrait Debray had drawn.”

Punctuality,> said M. Cristo, <is the politeness of kings, according to one of your sovereings, I think; but it is not the same with travellers. However, I hope you will excuse the 2 or 3 seconds I am behindhand; 500 leagues are not to be accomplished without some trouble, and especially in France, where, it seems, it is forbidden to beat the postilions [cocheiros].”

a traveller like myself, who has successively lived on maccaroni at Naples, polenta at Milan, olla podrida¹ at Valencia, pilau at Constantinople, karrick in India, and swallow’s nests in China. I eat everywhere, and of everything, only I eat but little”

¹ olla podrida: cozido com presunto, aves e embutidos.a

a embutido: carne de tripa

<But you can sleep when you please, monsieur?> said Morrel.


<You have a recipe for it?>

<An infallible one.>


<Oh, yes, returned M.C.; I make no secret of it. It is a mixture of excellent opium, which I fetched myself from Canton in order to have it pure, and the best hashish which grows in the East – that is, between the Tigris and the Euphrates.>”

he spoke with so much simplicity that it was evident he spoke the truth, or that he was mad.”

<Perhaps what I am about to say may seem strange to you, who are socialists, and vaunt humanity and your duty to your neighbor, but I never seek to protect a society which does not protect me, and which I will even say, generally occupies itself about me only to injure me; and thus by giving them a low place in my steem, and preserving a neutrality towards them, it is society and my neighbor who are indebted to me.>

(…) <you are the 1st man I ever met sufficiently courageous to preach egotism. Bravo, count, bravo!>” “vocês assumem os vícios que não têm, e escondem as virtudes que possuem.”

France is so prosaic, and Paris so civilized a city, that you will not find in its 85 departments – I say 85, because I do not include Corsica – you will not find, then, in these 85 departments a single hill on which there is not a telegraph, or a grotto in which the comissary of polie has not put up a gaslamp.”

<But how could you charge a Nubian to purchase a house, and a mute to furnish it? – he will do everything wrong.>

<Undeceive yourself, monsieur,> replied M.C.; <I am quite sure, that o the contrary, he will choose everything as I wish. He knows my tastes, my caprices, my wants. He has been here a week, with the instinct of a hound, hunting by himself. He will arrange everything for me. He knew, that I should arrive to-day at 10 o’clock; he was waiting for me at 9 at the Barrière de Fontainebleau. He gave me this paper; it contains the number of my new abode; read it yourself,> and M.C. passed a paper to Albert. <Ah, that is really original.> said Beauchamp.”

The young men looked at each other; they did not know if it was a comedy M.C. was playing, but every word he uttered had such an air of simplicity, that it was impossible to suppose what he said was false – besides, why whould he tell a falsehood?”

<Eu, em minha qualidade de jornalista, abro-lhe todos os teatros.>

<Obrigado, senhor,> respondeu M.C., <meu mordomo tem ordens para comprar um camarote em cada teatro.>

<O seu mordomo é também um núbio?> perguntou Debray.

<Não, ele é um homem do campo europeu, se um córsico for considerado europeu. Mas você o conhece, M. de Morcerf.>

<Seria aquele excepcional Sr. Bertuccio, que entende de reservar janelas tão bem?>

<Sim, você o viu o dia que eu tive a honra de recebê-lo; ele tem sido soldado, bandido – de fato, tudo. Eu não teria tanta certeza de que nesse meio-tempo ele não teve problemas com a polícia por alguma briguinha qualquer – uma punhalada com uma faca, p.ex.>”

Eu tenho algo melhor que isso; tenho uma escrava. Vocês procuram suas mulheres em óperas, o Vaudeville, ou as Variedades; eu comprei a minha em Constantinopla; me custa mais, mas não tenho do que reclamar.”

It was the portrait of a young woman of 5-or-6-and-20, with a dark complexion, and light and lustrous eyes, veiled beneath long lashes. She wore the picturesque costume of the Catalan fisher-women, a red and black bodice and golden pins in her hair. She was looking at the sea, and her form was outlined on the blue ocean and sky. The light was so faint in the room that Albert did not perceive the pallor that spread itself over the count’s visage, or the nervous heaving of his chest and shoulders. Silence prevailed for an instant, during which M.C. gazed intently on the picture. § <You have there a most charming mistress, viscount,> said the count in a perfectly calm tone”

Ah, monsieur, returned Albert, You do not know my mother; she it is whom you see here. She had her portrait painted thus 6 or 8 years ago. This costume is a fancy one, it appears, and the resemblance is so great that I think I still see my mother the same as she was in 1830. The countess had this portrait painted during the count’s absence.”

The picture seems to have a malign influence, for my mother rarely comes here without looking at it, weeping. This disagreement is the only one that has ever taken place between the count and countess, who are still as much united, although married more than 20 years, as on the 1st day of their wedding.”

Your are somewhat blasé. I know, and family scenes have not much effect on Sinbad the Sailor, who has seen so much many others.”

These are our arms, that is, those of my father, but they are, as you see, joined to another shield, which has gules, a silver tower, which are my mother’s. By her side I am Spanish, but the family of Morcerf is French, and, I have heard, one of the oldest of the south of France.”

<Yes, you are at once from Provence and Spain; that explains, if the portrait you showed me be like, the dark hue I so much admired on the visage of the noble Catalan.> It would have required the penetration of Oedipus or the Sphinx to have divined the irony the count concealed beneath these words, apparently uttered with the greatest politeness.”

A gentleman of high birth, possessor of an ample fortune, you have consented to gain your promotion as an obscure soldier, step by step – this is uncommon; then become general, peer of France, commander of the Legion of Honor, you consent to again commence a 2nd apprenticeship, without any other hope or any other desire than that of one day becoming useful to your fellow-creatures”

Precisely, monsieur, replied M.C. with ne of those smiles that a painter could never represent or a physiologist analyze.”

He was even paler than Mercedes.”

<And what do you suppose is the coun’s age?> inquired Mercedes, evidently attaching great importance to this question.

<35 or 36, mother.>

<So young, – it is impossible>”

The young man, standing up before her, gazed upon her with that filial affection which is so tender and endearing with children whose mothers are still young and handsome.”

I confess, I am not very desirous of a visit from the commisary of police, for, in Italy, justice is only paid when silent – in France she is paid only when she speaks.”

he has smitten with the sword, and he has perished by the sword”

while he stamped with his feet to remove all traces of his occupation, I rushed on him and plunged my knife into his breast, exclaiming, – <I am Giovanni Bertuccio; thy death for my brother’s; thy treasure for his widow; thou seest that my vengeance is more complete than I had hoped.> I know not if he heard these words; I think he did not for he fell without a cry.”

that relaxation of the laws which always follows a revolution.”

he who is about to commit an assassination fancies that he hears low cries perpetually ringing in his ears. 2 hours passed thus, during which I imagined I heard moans repeatedly.”

too great care we take of our bodies is the only obstacle to the success of those projects which require rapid decision, and vigorous and determined execution.”

No, no; but philosophy at half-past ten at night is somewhat late; yet I have no other observation to make, for what you say is correct, which is more than can be said for all philosophy.”

<heaven will bless you.>

<This, said M.C., is less correct than your philosophy, – it is only faith.>”

red is either altogether good or altogether bad.”

I do not like open doors when it thunders.”

the ocean called eterny”

For all evils there are 2 remedies – time and silence.”

Eu não tenho medo de fantasmas, e nunca ouvi falar de mortos terem causado tanto dano em 6 mil anos quanto os vivos num só dia.”

<It seems, sir steward,> said he <that you have yet to learn that all things are to be sold to such as care to pay the price.>

<His excellency is not, perhaps, aware that M. Danglars gave 16.000 francs for his horses?>

<Very well. Then offer him double that sum; a banker never loses an opportunity of doubling his capital.>”

you have been in my service 1 year, the time I generally give myself to judge of the merits or demerits of those about me.”

I am rich enough to know whatever I desire to know, and I can promise you I am not wanting in curiosity.”

<I assure your excellency,> said he, <that at least it shall be my study to merit your approbation in all things, and I will take M. Ali as my model.>

<By no means,> replied the count in the most frigid tones; <Ali has many faults mixed with most excellent qualities. He cannot possibly serve you as a pattern for your conduct, not being, as you are, a paid servant, but a mere slave – a dog, who, should he fail in his duty towards me, I should not discharge from my service, but kill.> Baptistin opened his eyes with astonishment.”

<Does the sum you have for them make the animals less beautiful,> inquired the count, shrugging his shoulders.”

I see; to your domestics you are <my lord,> the journalists style you <monsieur,> while your constituents call you <citizen>. These are distinctions very suitable under a constitutional government. I understand perfectly.”

I have acquired the bad habit of calling peorsons by their titles from living in a country where barons are still barons by right of birth.”

<My dear sir, if a trifle [ninharia] like that could suffice me, I should never have given myself the trouble of opening an account. A million? Excuse my smiling when you speak of a sum I am in the habit of carrying in my pocket-book or dressing-case.> And with these words M.C. took from his pocket a small case cantaining his visiting-cards and drew forth 2 orders on the treasury for 500.000 francs each, payable at sight to the bearer.”

I must confess to you, count, said Danglars, that I have hitherto imagined myself acquainted with the degree of all the great fortunes of Europe, and still wealth such as yours has been wholly unknown t me. May I presume to ask whether you have long possessed it?”

I have passed a considerable part of my life in the East, madame, and you are doubtless aware that the Orientals value only two things – the fine breeding of their horses and the beauty of their women.”

a woman will often, from mere wilfulness, prefer that which is dangerous to that which is safe. Therefore, in my opinion, my dear baron, the best and easiest way is to leave them to their fancies, and allow them to act as they please, and then, if any mischief follows, why, at least, they have no one to blame but themselves.”

“Debray, who perceived the gathering clouds, and felt no desire to witness the explosion of Madame Danglars’ rage, suddenly recollected an appointment, which compelled him to take his leave”

How grateful will M. de Villefort be for all your goodness; how thanfully will he acknowledge that to you alone he owes the existence of his wife and child!”

hated by many, but warmly supported by others, without being really liked by anybody, M. de Villefort held a high position in the magistracy, and maintened his eminence like a Harley or a Mole.” “A freezing politeness, a strict fidelity to government principles, a profound comtempt for theories and theorists, a deep-seated hatred of ideality, – these were the elements of private and public life displayed by M. de Villefort.”

<Finja pensar bem de si mesmo, e o mundo pensará bem de você,> um axioma 100x mais útil na sociedade hoje que aquele dos gregos, <Conhece-te a ti mesmo,> uma sabedoria que, em nosso dias, nós substituímos pela ciência menos complicada e mais vantajosa de conhecer os outros.”

4 revoluções sucessivas construíram e cimentaram o pedestal sobre o qual sua fortuna se baseia”

Ele deu bailes todos os anos, nos quais não aparecia por mais que ¼ de hora, – ou seja, 45min a menos do que o rei é visível em seus bailes. Nunca fôra visto em teatros, em concertos ou em qualquer lugar público de divertimento. Ocasionalmente, aliás raramente, chegava a jogar Whist, e ainda assim cuidado era tomado para selecionar os jogadores corretos – certas vezes se tratavam de embaixadores, outras, arcebispos; ou quem sabe um príncipe, ou um presidente, talvez alguma duquesa pensionista.”

From being slender he had now become meagre; once pale he was now yellow; his deep-set eyes were hollow, and the gold spectacles shielding his eyes seemed to be an integral portion of his face.”

<well sir, really, if, like you, I had nothing else to do, I should seek a more amusing occupation.>

<man is but an ugly caterpillar for him who studies him through a solar microscope; but you said, I think, that I had nothing else to do. Now, really, let me ask, sir, have you? – do you believe you have anything to do? or to speak in plain terms, do you really think that what you do deserves being called anything?>

It was a long time since the magisrate had heard a paradox so strong, or rather, to say the truth more exactly, it was the 1st time he had ever heard of it.”

it is with the justice of all countries especially that I have occupied myself – it is with the criminal procedure of all nations that I have compared natural justice, and I must say, sir, that it is the law of primitive nations, that is, the law of retaliation, that I have most frequently found to be according to the law of God.” “The English, Turkish, Japanese, Hindu laws, are as familiar to me as the French laws, and thus I was right, when I said to you, that relatively (you know that everything is relative, sir) – that relatively to what I have done, you have very little to do; but that relatively to all I have learned, you have yet a great deal to learn.”

I see that in spite of the reputation which you have acquired as a superior man, you look at everything from the material and vulgar view of society, beginning with man, and ending with man – that is to say, in the most restricted, most narrow view which it is possible for human understanding to embrace.”

Tobias took the angel who restored him to light for an ordinary young man. The nations took Attila, who was doomed to destroy them, for a conqueror similar to other conquerors, and it was necessary for both to reveal their missions, that they might be known and acknowledged”

It is not usual with us corrupted wretches of civilization to find gentlemen like yourself, possessors, as you are, of immense fortune – at least, so it is said – and I beg you to observe that I do not inquire, I merely repeat; – it is not usual, I say, for such privileged and wealthy beings to waste their time in speculations on the state of society, in philosophical reveries, intended at best to console those whom fate has disinherited from the goods of this world.”

The domination of kings are limited either by mountains or rivers, or a change of manners, or an alteration of language. My kingdom is bounded only by the world, for I am not an Italian, or a Frenchman, or a Hindu, or an American, or a Spaniard – I am a cosmopolite. No country can say it saw my birth. God alone knows what country will see me die. I adopt all customs, speak all languages. You believe me to be a Frenchman, for I speak French with the same facility and purity as yourself. Well, Ali, my Nubian, believes me to be an Arab; Bertuccio, my steward, takes me for a Roman; Haidée, my slave, thinks me a Greek. You may, therefore, comprehend, that being of no country, asking no protection from any government, acknowledging no man as my brother, not one of the scruples that arrest the powerful, or the obstacles which paralyze the weak, paralyzes or arrests me. I have only 2 adversaries – I will not say 2 conquerors, for with perseverance I subdue even them, – they are time and distance. There is a 3rd, and the most terrible – that is my condition asa mortal being, this alone can stop me in my onward career, before I have attained the goal at which I aim, for all the rest I have reduced to mathematical terms. What men call the chances of fate – namey, ruin, change, circumstances – I have fully anticipated, and if any of these should overtake me, yet it will not overwhelm me. Unless I die, I shall always be what I am, and therefore it is that I utter the things you have never heard, even from the mouths of kings – for kings have need, and oher persons have fear of you. For who is there who does not say to himself, in a society as incongruously organized as ours, <Perhaps some day I shall have to do with the king’s attorney>?”

we no longer talk, we rise to dissertation.” Engraçada inversão de sentido em relação ao Prefácio da Enciclopédia francesa, que vê nisso o fato de um monólogo cego, nada nobre.

Eu desejo ser a Providência eu mesmo, porque eu sinto que a coisa mais bela, nobre, mais sublime de todas no mundo, é recompensar e punir.”

o filho de Deus é tão invisível quanto o pai.”

<(…) Tudo o que eu posso fazer por você é torná-lo um dos agentes dessa Providência.> A barganha estava concluída. Devo sacrificar minh’alma, mas que importa afinal? Se fosse para fazer tudo de novo, faria de novo.” Villefort olhou o Conde de Monte Cristo admiradíssimo. “Conde, você tem parentes?”

Não, senhor, estou só no mundo.”

Oh, tanto pior.”

há algo que temer além da morte, da velhice e da loucura. P.ex., existe a apoplexia – aquele raio que atinge-o mas sem destruir, mas que de certo modo leva tudo a um fim.” “a ruptura de uma veia no lobo cerebral destruiu tudo isso, não num dia, não numa hora, mas num segundo. Noirtier, que, na noite anterior, era o velho jacobino, o velho senador, o velho Carbonaro, gargalhando à guilhotina, ao canhão, e à adaga – este Noirtier, jogando com revoluções – Monsieur Noirtier, para quem a França era um vasto tabuleiro de xadrez, de onde peões, bispos, cavaleiros e rainhas eram contìnuamente varridos, até o xeque-mate do rei – M.N., o formidável, era, na manhã seguinte, <o pobre N.,> o velho frágil, sob os ternos cuidados da mais fraca das criaturas da casa, i.e., sua neta, Valentina” Nunca chame uma mulher de fraca antes d’a vingança estar completada!

Cem escriores desde Sócrates, Sêneca, St. Agostinho,e Gall, fizeram, em verso e prosa, a comparação que você fez, e ainda assim eu posso mui bem deduzir que os sofrimentos paternos devem causar grandes transformações na mente de um filho.”

Valentina, a filha do meu primeiro casamento – com senhorita Renée de St.-Meran – e Eduardo, o garoto que você hoje salvou.”

<Meu palpite é,> respondeu V., <que meu pai, conduzido por suas paixões; cometeu algumas faltas desconhecidas para a justiça humana, mas marcadas na justiça de Deus. Esse Deus, desejoso em sua misericórdia de punir uma pessoa e mais ninguém, fez justiça nele tão-somente.> O Conde de Monte Cristo, com um sorriso nos lábios, emitiu, das profundezas de sua alma, um grunhido que teria feito V. voar se ao menos tivesse escutado.”

Sua atitude, embora natural para uma mulher oriental, seria, numa européia, confundida com algo emanando luxúria demais.” “E, para completar o quadro, Haidée se encontrava em plena primavera e no auge dos charmes da juventude – ela ainda não tinha ultrapassado os 20 verões.”

Nunca vi ninguém que eu preferisse a você, e nunca amei qualquer um, exceto você e meu pai.”

não é a árvore que abandona a flor – é a flor que cai da árvore.”

Meu pai tinha uma grande barba branca, mas eu o amava; ele tinha 60, mas para mim era mais bonito que qualquer jovem que já tivesse contemplado.”

Acredite: quando 3 grandes paixões, tristeza, amor e gratidão, preenchem o coração, ennui não tem lugar.”

Juventude é a flor da qual amor é o fruto; feliz é aquele que, depois de assistir seu silencioso crescimento, é o felizardo a pegar o fruto e chamá-lo seu.” Píndaro

Havia um estúdio para Emmanuel, que nunca estudava, e uma sala de concertos para Júlia, que nunca tocava.”

Morrel, ao morrer, deixou 500 mil francos, que foram partilhados entre mim e minha irmã, seus únicos descendentes.”

Oh, it was touching superstition, monsieur, and although I did not myself believe it, I would not for the world have destroyed my father’s faith. How often did he muse over it and pronounce the name of a dear friend – a friend lost to him forever; and on his death-bed, when the near approach of eternity seemed to have illumined his mind with supernatural light, this thought, which had until then been but a doubt, became a conviction and his last words were, <Maximilian, it was Edmond Dantes!> At these words the count’s paleness, which had for some time been increasing, became alarming; he could not speak”

M. Franz is not expected to return home for a year to come, I am told; in that time many favorable and unforeseen chances may befriend us.”

Valentine, while reproaching me with selfishness, think a little what you have been to me – the beautiful but cold resemblance of a marble Venus. What promise of future reward have you made me for all the submission and obedience I have evinced? – none whatever.”

The general remark is, <Oh, it cannot be excepcted that one of so stern a character as M. Villefort could lavish the tenderness some fathers do on their daughters. What though she has lost her own mother at a tender age, she has had tha happiness to find a 2nd mother in Madame de Ville.” “my father abandons me from utter indifference, while my mother-in-law detests me with a hatred so much the more terrible because it is veiled beneath a continual smile.”

I do not know; but, though unwilling to introduce money matters into our present conversation, I will just say this much – that her extreme dislike to me has its origin there; and I much fear she envies me the fortime I enjoy in right of my mother, and wich will be more than doubled at the death of M. and Mme. de Saint-Meran, whose sole heiress I am.”

no one could oppose him; he is all-powerful even with the king; he would crush you at a word.”

I am, for many reasons, not altogether so much beneath your alliance. The days when such distinctions were so nicely weighed and considered no longer exist in France, and the 1st families of the monarchy have intermarried with those of the empire. The aristocracy of the lance has allied itself with the nobility of the cannon.”

Don’t speak of Marseilles, I beg of your, Maximilian; that one word brings back my mother to my recollection – my angel mother, who died too soon for myself, and all who knew her.”

<Tell me truly, Maximilian, wether in former days, when our fathers dwelt at Marseilles, there was ever any misunderstanding between them?>

<Not that I am aware of,> replied the young man, <unless; indeed, any ill-feeling might have arisen from their being of opposite parties – your father was, as you know, a zealous partisan of the Bourbons, while mine was wholly devoted to the emperor>”

How singular, murmured Maximilian; your father hates me, while your grandfather, on the contrary – What strange feelings are aroused by politics.”

<And Monsieur de Monte Cristo, King of China, Emperor of Cochin-China,> said the young im[p][ertinent]”

And that is the case, observed Count of Monte Cristo. I have seen Russians devour, without being visibly inconvenienced, vegetable substances which would infallibly have killed a Neapolitan or an Arab.”

Well, supose that this poison was brucine, and you were to take a milligramme the 1st day, 2mg the 2nd, and so on. Well, at the end of 10 days you would have taken a centigramme [+40mg, cumulativamente], at the end of 20 days, increasing another mg, you would have taken 300 centigrammes [?]; that is to say, a dose which you would support without inconvenience, and which would be very dangerous for any other person who had not taken the same precautions as yourself. Well, then, at the end of a month, when drinking water from the same carafe, you would kill the person who drank with you, without your perceiving, otherwise than from slight inconvenience, that there was any poisonous substance mingles with this water.”

<I have often read, and read again, the history of Mithridates,> said Mme. de Villefort in a tone of reflection, <and had always considered it a fable.>

<No, madame, contrary to most history, it is true (…)>

<True, sir. The 2 favorite studies of my youth were botany and mineralogy, and subsequently when I learned the use of simple frequency explained the whole history of a people, and the entire life of individuals in the East, as flowers betoken and symbolize a love affair, I have regretted, that I was not a man, that I might have been a Flamel¹, a Fontana², or a Cabanis³.>

<And the more, madame,> said Counf of Monte Cristo, <as the Orientals do not confine themselves, as did Mithridates, to make a cuirass [escudo; proteção; couraça] of the poisons, but they also made them a dagger.>”

¹ Alquimista dos séc. XIV-XV.

² Médico italiano do séc. XVIII, autor, nas décadas 60, 70 e 80, de tratados pioneiros em toxicologia, como Ricerche fisiche sopra il veleno della vipera.

³ Médico e filósofo francês, contemporâneo de Fontana. De saúde frágil, era um médico que pesquisava muito e não clinicava, sendo portanto quase um metafísico da fisiologia. Suas idéias podem ser consideradas de uma amplitude tal que é, ainda, um psicólogo pré-Psicologia. Seu conceito de Vontade vital influenciaria fortemente Schopenhauer. Magnum opus: Lettre sur les causes premières (1824).

With opium, belladonna, brucaea, snake-wood¹, and the cherry-laurel², they put to sleep all who stand in their way. There is not one of those women, Egyptian, Turkish, or Greek, whom here you call <good women>, who do not know how, by means of chemistry, to stupefy a doctor, and in psychology to amaze a confessor.”

¹ Planta do gênero acácia comum em desertos do Oriente Médio e Austrália.

² Planta originária da vegetação costeira do Mar Morto.

the secret dramas of the East begin with a love philtre and end with a death potion – begin with paradise and end with – hell. There are as many elixirs of every kind as there are caprices and peculiarities in the physical and moral nature of humanity”

A man can easily be put out of the way there, then; it is, indeed, The Bagdad and Bassora of the <Thousand and One Nights>.”

at your theatres, by what at least I could judge by reading the pieces they play, they see persons swallow the contents of a phial, or suck the button of a ring, and fall dead instantly. 5 minutes afterwards the curtain falls, and the spectators depart. They are ignorant of the consequences of the murder; they see neither the police commissary with his badge of office, nor the corporal with his 4 men; and so the poor fools believe that the whole thing is as easy as lying. But go a little way from France – go either to Aleppo or Cairo, or only to Naples or Rome, and you will see people passing by you in the streets – people erect, smiling, and fresh-colored, of whom Asmodeus, if you were holding on by the skirt of his mantle, would say, <That man was poisoned 3 weeks ago; he will be a dead man in a month.>”

Ah, but madame, does mankind ever lose anything? The arts change about and make a tour of the world; things take a different name, and the vulgar do not follow them (…) Poisons at particularly on some organ or another – one on the stomach, another on the brain, another on the intestines. Well, the poison brings on a cough, the cough an inflammation of the lungs, or some other complaint catalogued in the book of science, which, however, by no means precludes it from being decidedly mortal; and if it were not, would be sure to become so, thanks to the remedies applied by foolish doctors, who are generally bad chemists, and which will act in favor of or against the malady, as you please; and then there is a human being killed according to all the rules of art and skill, and of whom justice learns nothing, as was said by a terrible chemist of my acquaintance, the worthy Abbé Adelmonte of Taormina, in Sicily, who has studied these national phenomena very profoundly.”

I thought, I must confess, that these tales, were inventions of the Middle Ages.”

What procureur has ever ventured to draw up an accusation against M. Magendie or M. Flourens², in consequence of the rabbits, cats, and guinea-pigs they have killed? – not one. So, then, the rabbit dies, and justice takes no notice. This rabbit dead, the Abbé Adelmonte has its entrails taken out by his cook and thrown on the dunghill; on this dunghill is a hen, who, pecking these intestines, is in her turn taken ill, and dies next day. At the moment when she is struggling in the convulsions of death, a vulture [espécie de urubu ou abutre] is flying by (there are a good many vultures in Adelmonte’s country); this bird darts on the dead fowl, and carries it away to a rock, where it dines off its prey. Three days afterwards, this poor vulture, which has been very much indisposed since that dinner, suddenly feels very giddly while flying aloft in the clouds, and falls heavily into a fish-pond. The pike, eels, and carp eat greedily always, as everybody knows – well, they feast on the vulture. Now suppose that next day, one of these eels, or pike, or carp, poisoned the fourth remove, is served up at your table. Well, then, your guest will be poisoned at fifth remove, and die, at the end of 8 or 10 days, of pains in the intestines, sickness, or abscess of the pylorus [piloro; músculo entre o estômago e o duodeno]. The doctors open the body and say with an air of profound learning, <The subject has died of a tumor on the liver, or of typhoid fever!>”

¹ Médico do XIX, vivisseccionista célebre pela radicalidade de seus experimentos, que chocaram até mesmo a comunidade científica de um período ainda não tão eticamente regulamentado quanto hoje.

² Médico do XIX especialista em anestesia; diferente de Gall, seu precursor em frenologia, utilizou animais como cobaias para fazer detalhadas comprovações.

But, she exclaimed, suddenly, arsenic is indelible, indestructible; in whatsoever way it is absorbed it will be found again in the body of the victim from the moment when it has been taken in sufficient quantity to cause death.”

<The fowl has not been poisoned – she had died of apoplexy. Apoplexy is a rare disease among fowls, I believe, but very commong among men.> Madame de Villefort appeared more and more thoughtful.

<It is very fortunate,> she observed, <that such substances could only be prepared by chemists; otherwise, all the world would be poisoning each other.>

<By chemists and persons who have a taste for chemistry,> said the Count of Monte Cristo caressly.”

The Orientals are stronger than we are in cases of conscience, and, very prudently, have no hell – that is the point.”

O lado ruim do pensamento humano vai ser sempre definido pelo paradoxo de Jean Jacques Rousseau – você deve saber, – o mandarim que é morto a 200km de distância por erguer a ponta do dedo. A vida inteira o homem passa fazendo essas coisas, e seu intelecto se exaure refletindo sobre elas. Você achará pouquíssimas pessoas que irão e enfiarão uma faca brutalmente no coração de seu companheiro ou irmão, ou que administrariam nele, para fazê-lo sumir da face da terra tão animada de vida, essa quantidade de arsênico de que falamos agora há pouco. Uma coisa dessas está realmente fora do normal – é excêntrico ou estúpido. Para chegar a esse ponto, o sangue deve ferver a 36º, o pulso deve estar, pelo menos, a 90, e os sentimentos, excitados além do limite ordinário.”

Thus Richard III, for instance, was marvellously served by his conscience after the putting away of the 2 children of Edward IV; in fact, he could say, <These 2 children of a cruel and persecuting king, who have inherited the vices of their father, which I alone could perceive in their juvenile propensities – these 2 children are impediments in my way of promoting the happiness of the English people, whose unhappiness they (the children) would infallibly have caused.> Thus was Lady Macbeth served by her conscience, when she sought to give her son, and not her husband (whatever Shakespeare may say), a throne. Ah, maternal love is a great virtue, a powerful motive – so powerful that it excuses a multitude of things, even if, after Duncan’s death, Lady Macbeth had been at all pricked by her conscience.”

Madame de Villefort listened with avidity to these appaling maxims and horrible paradoxes, delivered by the count with that ironical simplicity which was peculiar to him.”

As for me, so nervous, and so subject to fainting fits, I should require a Dr. Adelmonte to invent for me some means of breathing freely and tranquilizing my mind, in the fear I have of dying some fine day of suffocation.”

Only remember 1 thing – a small dose is a remedy, a large one is poison. 1 drop will restore life, as you have seen; 5 or 6 will inevitably kill, and in a way the more terrible inasmuch as, poured into a glass of wine, it would not in the slightest degree affect its flavor.”

He is a very strange man, and in my opinion is himself the Adelmonte he talks about.”

* * *

To no class of persons is the presentation of a gratuitous opera-box more acceptable than to the wealthy millionaire, who still hugs economy while boasting of carrying a king’s ransom in his waistcoat pocket.”

No, for that very ressemblance affrights me; I should have liked something more in the manner of the Venus of Milo or Capua; but this chase-loving Diana continually surrounded by her nymphs gives me a sort of alarm lest she should some day bring on me the fate of Acteon.” “she was beautiful, but her beauty was of too marked and decided a character to please a fastidious taste; her hair was raven black, but its natural waves seemed somewhat rebellious; her eyes of the same color as her hair, were surmounted by well-arched bows, whose great defect, however, consisted in an almost habitual frown, while her whole physiognomy wore that expression of firmness and decision so little in accordance with the gentler attributes of her sex”

But that which completed the almost masculine look Morcerf found so little to his taste, was a dark mole, of much larger dimensions than these freaks of nature generally are, placed just at the corner of her mouth” “She was a perfect linguist, a 1st-rate artist, wrote poetry, professed to be entirely devoted, following it with an indefatigable perseverance, assisted by a schoolfellow” “It was rumored that she was an object of almost paternal interest to one of the principal composers of the day, who excited her to spare no pains in the cultivation of her voice, which might hereafter prove a source of wealth and independence.”

Why, said Albert, he was talked about for a week; then the coronation of the queen of England took place, followed by the theft of Mademoiselle Mars’ diamonds; and so people talked of something else.”

He seems to have a mania for diamonds, and I verily believe that, like Potenkin, he keeps his pockets filled, for the sake of strewing them along the road, as Tom Thumb did his flint stones.”

No, no! exclaimed Debray; that girl is not his wife: he told us himself she was his slave. Do you not recollect, Morcerf, his telling us so at your breakfast?”

Ah, essa música, como produção humana, cantada por bípedes sem penas, está boa o bastante, para citar o velho Diógenes”

<quando eu desejo ouvir sons mais requintadamente consoantes com a melodia do que o ouvido mortal seria capaz de escutar, eu vou dormir.>

<Então durma aqui, meu querido conde. As condições são favoráveis; para o que mais inventaram a ópera?>

<Não, obrigado. Sua orquestra é muito barulhenta. Para dormir da maneira de que falo, calma e silêncio absolutos são precisos, e ainda certa preparação>–

<Eu sei – o famoso haxixe!>

<Precisamente. Destarte, meu querido visconde, sempre que quiser ser regalado com música de verdade, venha e jante comigo.>”

Haidée, cujo espírito parecia centrado nos negócios do palco, como todas as naturezas sem sofisticação, se deliciava com qualquer coisa que se insinuasse aos olhos ou aos ouvidos.”

Você observou, disse a Condessa G—— a Albert, que voltou para o seu lado, esse homem não faz nada como as outras pessoas; ele escuta com grande devoção o 3º ato de <Robert le Diable>, e quando começa o 4º ato, sai de contínuo.”

desinteresse é o raio mais rilhante em que uma espada nobre pode refletir.”

Ah, Haitians, – that is quite another thing! Haitians are the écarte of French stock-jobbing. We may like bouillote, delight in whist, be enraptured with boston, and yet grow tired of them all; but we always come back to écarte – it’s not only a game, it is a hors-d’oeuvre! M. Danglars sold yesterday at 405, and pockets 300.000 francs. Had he but waited till to-day, the price would have fallen to 205, and instead of gaining 300.000 francs, he would have lost 20 or 25.000.”

Você sabe que com banqueiros nada a não ser um documento escrito será válido.”

é cansativo bancar sempre o Manfredo. Eu desejo que minha vida seja livre e aberta.”

Você ouviu – Major Bartolomeo Cavalcanti – um homem que figura entre os nobres mais antigos de Itália, cujo nome foi celebrado no 10º canto do <Inferno> por Dante”

The acquaintances one makes in travelling have a sort of claim on one, they everywhere expect to receive the attention which you once paid them by chance, as though the civilities of a passing hour were likely to awaken any lasting interest in favor of the man in whose society you may happen to be thrown in the course of your journey.”

<Yes, he is to marry Mademoiselle de Villefort.>


<And you know I am to marry Mademoiselle Danglars,> said Albert, laughing.

<You smile.>


<Why do you do so?>

<I smile because there appears to me to be about as much inclination for the consummation of the engagement in question as there is for my own. But really, my dear count, We are talking as much of women as they do of us; it is unpardonable>”

My servants seem to imitate those you sometimes see in a play, who, because they have only a word to say, aquit themselves in the most awkward manner possible.”

I should like you 100x better if, by your intervention, I could manage to remain a bachelor, even were it only for 10 years.”

Lucullus dines with Lucullus” ou o banquete-para-um.

Você deve saber que na França são muito particulares nesses pontos; não é o bastante, como na Itália, ir até o padre e dizer <Nós amamos 1 ao outro, e queremos que você nos case.> Casamento é um negócio civil na França, e a fim de se casar da maneira ortodoxa você precisa de papéis que estabeleçam inegavelmente sua identidade.”

<But what shall I wear?>

<What you find in your trunks.>

<In my trunks? I have but one portmanteau [mala].>

<I dare say you have nothing else with you. What is the use of losing one’s self with so many things? Besides an old soldier always likes to march with as little baggage as possible.>”

<Exactly so. Now, as I have never known any Sinbad, with the exception of the one celebrated in the ‘1001 Nights’>–

<Well, it is one of his descendants, and a great friend of mine; he is a very rich Englishman, eccentric almost to insanity, and his real name is Lord Wilmore.>”

I have, therefore, received a very good education, and have been treated by those kidnappers very much as the slaves were treated in Asia Minor, whose masters made them grammarians, doctors, and philosophers, in order that they might fetch a higher price in the Roman market.”

Você não pode controlar as circunstâncias, meu caro; <o homem propõe, e Deus dispõe>.”

<Does Mademoiselle Danglars object to this marriage with Monsieur de Morcerf on account of loving another?>

<I told you I was not on terms of strict intimacy with Eugenie.>

<Yes, but girls tell each other secrets without being particularly intimate; own, now, that you did question her on the subject. Ah, I see you are smiling.>”

She told me that she loved no one, said Valentine; that she disliked the idea of being married; that she would infinitely prefer leading an independent and unfettered life; and that she almost wished her father might lose his fortune; that she might become an artist, like her friend, Mademoiselle Louise d’Armilly.”

I never saw more simple tastes united to greater magnificence. His smile is so sweet when he addresses me, that I forget it ever can be bitter to others. Ah, Valentine, tell me, if he ever looked on you with one of those sweet smiles?”

Has the sun done anything for me? No, he warms me with his rays, and it is by his light that I see you – nothing more. Has such and such a perfume done anything for me? No; its odors charms one of my senses – that is all I can say when I am asked why I praise it. My friendship for him is as strange and unaccountable as his for me.”

A man who accustoms himself to live in such a world of poetry and imagination must find far too little excitement in a common, every-day sort of attachment such as ours.”

O que você está me dizendo? 900 mil francos? Essa é uma soma que poderia ser lamentada mesmo por um filósofo!”

Flora, a jovial e sorridente deusa dos jardineiros”

O Conde de Monte Cristo tinha visto o bastante. Todo homem tem uma paixão arrebatadora em seu coração, como cada fruta tem seu verme; a do homem-do-telégrafo era a horticultura.”

these Italians are well-named and badly dressed.”

I have only heard that an emperor of China had an oven built expressly, and that in this oven 12 jars like this were successively baked. 2 broke, from the heat of the fire; the other 10 were sunk 300 fathoms deep into the sea. The sea, knowing what was required of her, threw over them her weeds, encircled them with coral, and encrusted them with shells; the whole was cemented by 200 years beneath these almost impervious depths, for a revolution carried away the emperor who wished to make the trial, and only left the documents proving the manufacture of the jars and their descent into the sea. At the end of 200 years the documents were found, and they thought of bringing up the jars. Divers descended in machines, made expressly on the discovery, into the bay where they were thrown; but of 10 3 only remained, the rest having been broken by the waves.”

<Stop! You are in a shocking hurry to be off – you forget one of my guests. Lean a little to the left. Stay! look at M. Andrea Cavalcanti, the young man in a black coat, looking at Murillo’s Madonna; now he is turning.> This time Bertuccio would have uttered an exclamation had not a look from the Count of Monte Cristo silenced him. <Benedetto?> he muttered; <fatality!>”

you will admit that, when arrived at a certain degree of fortune, the superfluities of life are all that can be desired; and the ladies will allow that, after having risen to a certain eminence of position, the ideal alone can be more exalted.”

For example, you see these 2 fish; 1 brought from 50 leagues beyond St. Petersburg, the other 4 leagues from Naples. Is it not amusing to see them both on the same table?”

<Exactly: 1 comes from the Volga, and the other from Lake Fusaro.>

<Impossible!> cried all the guests simultaneously.

<Well, this is just what amuses me,> said the Count of Monte Cristo. <I am like Nero – cupitor impossibilium; and that is what is amusing you at this moment. This fish which seems so exquisite to you is very likely no better than perch or salmon; but it seemed impossible to procure it, and here it is.>”

<Pliny relates that they sent slaves from Ostia to Rome, who carried on their heads fish which he calls the muslus, and which, from the description, must probably be the goldfish. It was also considered a luxury to have them alive, it being an amusing sight to see them die, for, when dying, they chance color 3 or 4 times, and like the rainbow when it disappears, pass through all the prismatic shades, after which they were sent to the kitchen. Their agony formed part of their merit – if they were not seen alive, they were despised when dead.>

<Yes,> said Debray, <but then Ostia is only a few leagues from Rome.>

<True,> said the Count of Monte Cristo; <but what would be the use of living 18×100 years after Lucullus, if we can do no better than he could?>”

Elisabeth de Rossan, Marquise de Ganges, was one of the famous women of the court of Louis XIV where she was known as <La Belle Provençale>. She was the widow of the Marquise de Castellane when she married de Ganges, and having the misfortune to excite the enmity of her new brothers-in-law, was forced by them to take poison; and they finished her off with pistol and dagger.”

<Can you imagine>, said the Count of Monte Crisato, <some Othello or Abbé de Ganges, one stormy night, descending these stairs step by step, carrying a load, which he wishes to hide from the sight of man, if not from God?> Madame Danglars half fainted on the arm of Villefort, who was obliged to support himself against the wall.”

<What is done to infanticides in this country?> asked Major Cavalcanti innocently.

<Oh, their heads are soon cut off>, said Danglars.

<Ah, indeed?> said Cavalcanti.

<I think so, am I not right, M. de Villefort?> asked the Count of Monte Cristo.

<Yes, count>, replied Villefort, in a voice now scarcely human.”

Simpleton symptons

Melancholy in a capitalist, like the appearance of a comet, presages some misfortune to the world.”

She dreamed Don Carlos had returned to Spain; she believes in dreams. It is magnetism, she says, and when she dreams a thing it is sure to happen, she assures me.”

I make three assortments in fortune—first-rate, second-rate, and third-rate fortunes. I call those first-rate which are composed of treasures one possesses under one’s hand, such as mines, lands, and funded property, in such states as France, Austria, and England, provided these treasures and property form a total of about a hundred millions; I call those second-rate fortunes, that are gained by manufacturing enterprises, joint-stock companies, viceroyalties, and principalities, not drawing more than 1,500,000 francs, the whole forming a capital of about fifty millions; finally, I call those third-rate fortunes, which are composed of a fluctuating capital, dependent upon the will of others, or upon chances which a bankruptcy involves or a false telegram shakes, such as banks, speculations of the day—in fact, all operations under the influence of greater or less mischances, the whole bringing in a real or fictitious capital of about fifteen millions. I think this is about your position, is it not?”

We have our clothes, some more splendid than others,—this is our credit; but when a man dies he has only his skin; in the same way, on retiring from business, you have nothing but your real principal of about five or six millions, at the most; for third-rate fortunes are never more than a fourth of what they appear to be, like the locomotive on a railway, the size of which is magnified by the smoke and steam surrounding it. Well, out of the five or six millions which form your real capital, you have just lost nearly two millions, which must, of course, in the same degree diminish your credit and fictitious fortune; to follow out my s[i]mile, your skin has been opened by bleeding, and this if repeated three or four times will cause death—so pay attention to it, my dear Monsieur Danglars. Do you want money? Do you wish me to lend you some?

I have made up the loss of blood by nutrition. I lost a battle in Spain, I have been defeated in Trieste, but my naval army in India will have taken some galleons, and my Mexican pioneers will have discovered some mine.”

to involve me, three governments must crumble to dust.”

Well, such things have been.”

That there should be a famine!”

Recollect the seven fat and the seven lean kine.”

Or, that the sea should become dry, as in the days of Pharaoh, and even then my vessels would become caravans.”

So much the better. I congratulate you, my dear M. Danglars,” said Monte Cristo; “I see I was deceived, and that you belong to the class of second-rate fortunes.”

the sickly moons which bad artists are so fond of daubing into their pictures of ruins.”

But all the Italians are the same; they are like old Jews when they are not glittering in Oriental splendor.”

my opinion, I say, is, that they have buried their millions in corners, the secret of which they have transmitted only to their eldest sons, who have done the same from generation to generation; and the proof of this is seen in their yellow and dry appearance, like the florins of the republic, which, from being constantly gazed upon, have become reflected in them.”

Oh, that depends upon circumstances. I know an Italian prince, rich as a gold mine, one of the noblest families in Tuscany, who, when his sons married according to his wish, gave them millions; and when they married against his consent, merely allowed them thirty crowns a month. Should Andrea marry according to his father’s views, he will, perhaps, give him one, two, or three millions. For example, supposing it were the daughter of a banker, he might take an interest in the house of the father-in-law of his son; then again, if he disliked his choice, the major takes the key, double-locks his coffer, and Master Andrea would be obliged to live like the sons of a Parisian family, by shuffling cards or rattling the dice.”

Well, when I was a clerk, Morcerf was a mere fisherman.”

And then he was called——”


Only Fernand?”

Fernand Mondego.”

You are sure?”

Pardieu! I have bought enough fish of him to know his name.”

Then, why did you think of giving your daughter to him?”

Because Fernand and Danglars, being both parvenus, both having become noble, both rich, are about equal in worth, excepting that there have been certain things mentioned of him that were never said of me.”


Oh, nothing!”

Ah, yes; what you tell me recalls to mind something about the name of Fernand Mondego. I have heard that name in Greece.”

In conjunction with the affairs of Ali Pasha?”

Exactly so.”

This is the mystery,” said Danglars. “I acknowledge I would have given anything to find it out.”

It would be very easy if you much wished it?”

How so?”

Probably you have some correspondent in Greece?”

I should think so.”

At Yanina?”


Well, write to your correspondent in Yanina, and ask him what part was played by a Frenchman named Fernand Mondego in the catastrophe of Ali Tepelini.”

You are right,” exclaimed Danglars, rising quickly, “I will write today.”

business-like persons pay very little attention to women, and Madame Danglars crossed the hall without exciting any more attention than any other woman calling upon her lawyer.”

it is true that every step in our lives is like the course of an insect on the sands;—it leaves its track! Alas, to many the path is traced by tears.”

 “Besides the pleasure, there is always remorse from the indulgence of our passions, and, after all, what have you men to fear from all this? the world excuses, and notoriety ennobles you.”

It is generally the case that what we most ardently desire is as ardently withheld from us by those who wish to obtain it, or from whom we attempt to snatch it. Thus, the greater number of a man’s errors come before him disguised under the specious form of necessity; then, after error has been committed in a moment of excitement, of delirium, or of fear, we see that we might have avoided and escaped it. The means we might have used, which we in our blindness could not see, then seem simple and easy, and we say, <Why did I not do this, instead of that?> Women, on the contrary, are rarely tormented with remorse; for the decision does not come from you,—your misfortunes are generally imposed upon you, and your faults the results of others’ crimes.

Chance?” replied Villefort; “No, no, madame, there is no such thing as chance.”

Oh, the wickedness of man is very great,” said Villefort, “since it surpasses the goodness of God. Did you observe that man’s eyes while he was speaking to us?”


But have you ever watched him carefully?”

did you ever reveal to anyone our connection?”

Never, to anyone.”

You understand me,” replied Villefort, affectionately; “when I say anyone,—pardon my urgency,—to anyone living I mean?”

Yes, yes, I understand very well,” ejaculated the baroness; “never, I swear to you.”

Were you ever in the habit of writing in the evening what had transpired in the morning? Do you keep a journal?”

No, my life has been passed in frivolity; I wish to forget it myself.”

Do you talk in your sleep?”

I sleep soundly, like a child; do you not remember?” The color mounted to the baroness’s face, and Villefort turned awfully pale.

It is true,” said he, in so low a tone that he could hardly be heard.

It was a strange thing that no one ever appeared to advance a step in that man’s favor. Those who would, as it were, force a passage to his heart, found an impassable barrier.”

And what is the news?”

You should not ask a stranger, a foreigner, for news.”

One may forsake a mistress, but a wife,—good heavens! There she must always be”

You are difficult to please, viscount.”

Yes, for I often wish for what is impossible.”

What is that?”

To find such a wife as my father found.” Monte Cristo turned pale, and looked at Albert, while playing with some magnificent pistols.

For any other son to have stayed with his mother for four days at Tréport, it would have been a condescension or a martyrdom, while I return, more contented, more peaceful—shall I say more poetic!—than if I had taken Queen Mab or Titania as my companion.”

That is what I call devoted friendship, to recommend to another one whom you would not marry yourself.”

I love everyone as God commands us to love our neighbor, as Christians; but I thoroughly hate but a few. Let us return to M. Franz d’Epinay. Did you say he was coming?”

those who remain in Paris in July must be true Parisians.”

That is very well before one is over forty. No, I do not dance, but I like to see others do so.”

One of his peculiarities was never to speak a word of French, which he however wrote with great facility.”

I am told it is a delightful place?”

It is a rock.”

And why has the count bought a rock?”

For the sake of being a count. In Italy one must have territorial possessions to be a count.”

Are you not his confessor?”

No, sir; I believe he is a Lutheran.”

He is a Quaker then?”

Exactly, he is a Quaker, with the exception of the peculiar dress.”

Has he any friends?”

Yes, everyone who knows him is his friend.”

But has he any enemies?”

One only.”

What is his name?”

Lord Wilmore.”

A investigação circular de Monsieur Villefaible…

Now, sir, I have but one question more to ask, and I charge you, in the name of honor, of humanity, and of religion, to answer me candidly.”

What is it, sir?”

Do you know with what design M. de Monte Cristo purchased a house at Auteuil?”

Certainly, for he told me.”

What is it, sir?”

To make a lunatic asylum of it, similar to that founded by the Count of Pisani at Palermo. Do you know about that institution?”

As the envoy of the prefect of police arrived ten minutes before ten, he was told that Lord Wilmore, who was precision and punctuality personified, was not yet come in, but that he would be sure to return as the clock struck.” (*) [VIDE MARCA POUCO ALÉM]

But as Lord Wilmore, in the character of the count’s enemy, was less restrained in his answers, they were more numerous; he described the youth of Monte Cristo, who he said, at ten years of age, entered the service of one of the petty sovereigns of India who make war on the English. It was there Wilmore had first met him and fought against him; and in that war Zaccone had been taken prisoner, sent to England, and consigned to the hulks, whence he had escaped by swimming. Then began his travels, his duels, his caprices; then the insurrection in Greece broke out, and he had served in the Grecian ranks. While in that service he had discovered a silver mine in the mountains of Thessaly, but he had been careful to conceal it from everyone. After the battle of Navarino, when the Greek government was consolidated, he asked of King Otho a mining grant for that district, which was given him. Hence that immense fortune, which, in Lord Wilmore’s opinion, possibly amounted to one or two millions per annum,—a precarious fortune, which might be momentarily lost by the failure of the mine.”

Hatred evidently inspired the Englishman, who, knowing no other reproach to bring on the count, accused him of avarice. “Do you know his house at Auteuil?”


What do you know respecting it?”

Do you wish to know why he bought it?”


The count is a speculator, who will certainly ruin himself in experiments. He supposes there is in the neighborhood of the house he has bought a mineral spring equal to those at Bagnères, Luchon, and Cauterets. He is going to turn his house into a Badhaus, as the Germans term it. He has already dug up all the garden two or three times to find the famous spring, and, being unsuccessful, he will soon purchase all the contiguous houses. Now, as I dislike him, and hope his railway, his electric telegraph, or his search for baths, will ruin him, I am watching for his discomfiture, which must soon take place.”

I have already fought three duels with him,” said the Englishman, “the first with the pistol, the second with the sword, and the third with the sabre.”

Lord Wilmore, having heard the door close after him, returned to his bedroom, where with one hand he pulled off his light hair, his red whiskers, his false jaw, and his wound, to resume the black hair, dark complexion, and pearly teeth of the Count of Monte Cristo. It was M. de Villefort, and not the prefect, who returned to the house of M. de Villefort. (*) [???] He himself was the <envoy> [solução do miséterio], although the prefect was no more than an envoy of the King’s Attorney… Champsfort, consequently, continued his circularity with perfection & avidity…

You know that he has another name besides Monte Cristo?”

No, I did not know it.”

Monte Cristo is the name of an island, and he has a family name.”

I never heard it.”

Well, then, I am better informed than you; his name is Zaccone.”

It is possible.”

He is a Maltese.”

That is also possible.”

The son of a shipowner.”

Many men might have been handsomer, but certainly there could be none whose appearance was more significant, if the expression may be used. (…) Yet the Parisian world is so strange, that even all this might not have won attention had there not been connected with it a mysterious story gilded by an immense fortune.”

Albert,” she asked, “did you notice that?”

What, mother?”

That the count has never been willing to partake of food under the roof of M. de Morcerf.”

Yes; but then he breakfasted with me—indeed, he made his first appearance in the world on that occasion.”

But your house is not M. de Morcerf’s,” murmured Mercédès

Count,” added Mercédès with a supplicating glance, “there is a beautiful Arabian custom, which makes eternal friends of those who have together eaten bread and salt under the same roof.”

I know it, madame,” replied the count; “but we are in France, and not in Arabia, and in France eternal friendships are as rare as the custom of dividing bread and salt with one another.”

How can you exist thus without anyone to attach you to life?”

It is not my fault, madame. At Malta, I loved a young girl, was on the point of marrying her, when war came and carried me away. I thought she loved me well enough to wait for me, and even to remain faithful to my memory. When I returned she was married. This is the history of most men who have passed twenty years of age. Perhaps my heart was weaker than the hearts of most men, and I suffered more than they would have done in my place; that is all.” The countess stopped for a moment, as if gasping for breath. “Yes,” she said, “and you have still preserved this love in your heart—one can only love once—and did you ever see her again?”


Countless countesses

M. Count Comtempt


Aunt C.

instead of plunging into the mass of documents piled before him, M. Villefort opened the drawer of his desk, touched a spring, and drew out a parcel of cherished memoranda, amongst which he had carefully arranged, in characters only known to himself, the names of all those who, either in his political career, in money matters, at the bar, or in his mysterious love affairs, had become his enemies. § Their number was formidable, now that he had begun to fear, and yet these names, powerful though they were, had often caused him to smile with the same kind of satisfaction experienced by a traveller who from the summit of a mountain beholds at his feet the craggy eminences, the almost impassable paths, and the fearful chasms, through which he has so perilously climbed. When he had run over all these names in his memory, again read and studied them, commenting meanwhile upon his lists, he shook his head.

No,” he murmured, “none of my enemies would have waited so patiently and laboriously for so long a space of time, that they might now come and crush me with this secret. Sometimes, as Hamlet says—

Foul deeds will rise,

Though all the earth o’erwhelm them, to men’s eyes;’

Sujos feitos erguer-se-ão,

Muito embora toda a terra os soterre,

aos olhos dos homens


“—he cared little for that mene, mene, tekel upharsin, which appeared suddenly in letters of blood upon the wall;—but what he was really anxious for was to discover whose hand had traced them.” Referência bíblica. Segue explicação:

(source: Wiki)

Daniel reads the words, MENE, MENE, TEKEL, PARSIN, and interprets them for the king: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed and found wanting; and PERES, the kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians. <Then Belshazzar gave the command, and Daniel was clothed in purple, a chain of gold was put around his neck, and a proclamation was made … that he should rank third in the kingdom; [and] that very night Belshazzar the Chaldean (Babylonian) king was killed, and Darius the Mede received the kingdom.> (…) As Aramaic was written with consonants alone, they may have lacked any context in which to make sense of them. Daniel supplies vowels in two different ways, first reading the letters as nouns, then interpreting them as verbs. § The words Daniel reads are monetary weights: a mena, equivalent to a Jewish mina or 60 shekels, (several ancient versions have only one mena instead of two), a tekel, equivalent to a shekel, and parsin, meaning <half-pieces>. The last involves a word-play on the name of the Persians, suggesting not only that they are to inherit Belshazzar’s kingdom, but that they are two peoples, Medes and Persians. § Having read the words as nouns Daniel then interprets them as verbs, based on their roots: mina is interpreted as meaning <numbered>, tekel, from a root meaning to weigh, as meaning <weighed> (and found wanting), and peres, the singular form of dual parsin, from a root meaning to divide, as meaning the kingdom is to be <divided> and given to the Medes and Persians. (A curious point is that the various weights — a mina or sixty shekels, another shekel, and two half-shekels — add up to 62, which is noted in the last verse as the age of Darius the Mede).” RESUMO: “Seus dias estão contados…”

I cannot cry; at my age they say that we have no more tears,—still I think that when one is in trouble one should have the power of weeping.”

nothing frightens old people so much as when death relaxes its vigilance over them for a moment in order to strike some other old person.”

A stepmother is never a mother, sir. But this is not to the purpose,—our business concerns Valentine, let us leave the dead in peace.”

that theatrical formality invented to heighten the effect of a comedy called the signature of the contract”

It is an every-day occurrence for a gambler to lose not only what he possesses but also what he has not.”

I will, then, wait until the last moment, and when my misery is certain, irremediable, hopeless, I will write a confidential letter to my brother-in-law, another to the prefect of police, to acquaint them with my intention, and at the corner of some wood, on the brink of some abyss, on the bank of some river, I will put an end to my existence, as certainly as I am the son of the most honest man who ever lived in France.”

He shut himself in his room, and tried to read, but his eye glanced over the page without understanding a word, and he threw away the book, and for the second time sat down to sketch his plan (…) The garden became darker still, but in the darkness he looked in vain for the white dress, and in the silence he vainly listened for the sound of footsteps. The house, which was discernible through the trees, remained in darkness, and gave no indication that so important an event as the signature of a marriage-contract was going on. Morrel looked at his watch, which wanted a quarter to ten; but soon the same clock he had already heard strike two or three times rectified the error by striking half-past nine. § This was already half an hour past the time Valentine had fixed. It was a terrible moment for the young man. The slightest rustling of the foliage, the least whistling of the wind, attracted his attention, and drew the perspiration to his brow; then he tremblingly fixed his ladder, and, not to lose a moment, placed his foot on the first step. Amidst all these alternations of hope and fear, the clock struck ten. <It is impossible,> said Maximilian, <that the signing of a contract should occupy so long a time without unexpected interruptions. I have weighed all the chances, calculated the time required for all the forms; something must have happened.> And then he walked rapidly to and fro, and pressed his burning forehead against the fence. Had Valentine fainted? or had she been discovered and stopped in her flight? These were the only obstacles which appeared possible to the young man. (…) He even thought he could perceive something on the ground at a distance; he ventured to call, and it seemed to him that the wind wafted back an almost inarticulate sigh. (…) A light moved rapidly from time to time past three windows of the second floor. These three windows were in Madame de Saint-Méran’s room. Another remained motionless behind some red curtains which were in Madame de Villefort’s bedroom. Morrel guessed all this. So many times, in order to follow Valentine in thought at every hour in the day, had he made her describe the whole house, that without having seen it he knew it all.”

grief may kill, although it rarely does, and never in a day, never in an hour, never in ten minutes.”

Did you notice the symptoms of the disease to which Madame de Saint-Méran has fallen a victim?”

I did. Madame de Saint-Méran had three successive attacks, at intervals of some minutes, each one more serious than the former. When you arrived, Madame de Saint-Méran had already been panting for breath some minutes; she then had a fit, which I took to be simply a nervous attack, and it was only when I saw her raise herself in the bed, and her limbs and neck appear stiffened, that I became really alarmed. Then I understood from your countenance there was more to fear than I had thought. This crisis past, I endeavored to catch your eye, but could not. You held her hand—you were feeling her pulse—and the second fit came on before you had turned towards me. This was more terrible than the first; the same nervous movements were repeated, and the mouth contracted and turned purple.”

And at the third she expired.”

At the end of the first attack I discovered symptoms of tetanus; you confirmed my opinion.”

Yes, before others,” replied the doctor; “but now we are alone——“

What are you going to say? Oh, spare me!”

That the symptoms of tetanus and poisoning by vegetable substances are the same.” M. de Villefort started from his seat, then in a moment fell down again, silent and motionless.

Madame de Saint-Méran succumbed to a powerful dose of brucine or of strychnine, which by some mistake, perhaps, has been given to her.”

But how could a dose prepared for M. Noirtier poison Madame de Saint-Méran?”

Nothing is more simple. You know poisons become remedies in certain diseases, of which paralysis is one. For instance, having tried every other remedy to restore movement and speech to M. Noirtier, I resolved to try one last means, and for three months I have been giving him brucine; so that in the last dose I ordered for him there were six grains. This quantity, which is perfectly safe to administer to the paralyzed frame of M. Noirtier, which has become gradually accustomed to it, would be sufficient to kill another person.”

were you a priest I should not dare tell you that, but you are a man, and you know mankind.”

It cannot be wondered at that his mind, generally so courageous, but now disturbed by the two strongest human passions, love and fear, was weakened even to the indulgence of superstitious thoughts. Although it was impossible that Valentine should see him, hidden as he was, he thought he heard the shadow at the window call him; his disturbed mind told him so. This double error became an irresistible reality, and by one of the incomprehensible transports of youth, he bounded from his hiding-place, and with two strides, at the risk of being seen, at the risk of alarming Valentine, at the risk of being discovered by some exclamation which might escape the young girl, he crossed the flower-garden, which by the light of the moon resembled a large white lake, and having passed the rows of orange-trees which extended in front of the house, he reached the step, ran quickly up and pushed the door, which opened without offering any resistance. Valentine had not seen him. Her eyes, raised towards heaven, were watching a silvery cloud gliding over the azure, its form that of a shadow mounting towards heaven. Her poetic and excited mind pictured it as the soul of her grandmother. (…) Morrel was mad.”

A heart overwhelmed with one great grief is insensible to minor emotions.”

The weak man talks of burdens he can raise, the timid of giants he can confront, the poor of treasures he spends, the most humble peasant, in the height of his pride, calls himself Jupiter.”

It is said to have been a congestion of the brain, or apoplexy, which is the same thing, is it not?”


You bend because your empire is a young stem, weakened by rapid growth. Take the Republic for a tutor; let us return with renewed strength to the battle-field, and I promise you 500,000 soldiers, another Marengo, and a second Austerlitz. Ideas do not become extinct, sire; they slumber sometimes, but only revive the stronger before they sleep entirely.” M. Noirtier a Napoleão

But tell me, said Beauchamp, what is life? Is it not a halt in Death’s anteroom?”

A moment later, Madame de Villefort entered the drawing-room with her little Edward. It was evident that she had shared the grief of the family, for she was pale and looked fatigued. She sat down, took Edward on her knees, and from time to time pressed this child, on whom her affections appeared centred, almost convulsively to her bosom.”

Old age is selfish, sir, and Mademoiselle de Villefort has been a faithful companion to M. Noirtier, which she cannot be when she becomes the Baroness d’Epinay. My father’s melancholy state prevents our speaking to him on any subjects, which the weakness of his mind would incapacitate him from understanding, and I am perfectly convinced that at the present time, although, he knows that his granddaughter is going to be married, M. Noirtier has even forgotten the name of his intended grandson.”

He was then informed of the contents of the letter from the Island of Elba, in which he was recommended to the club as a man who would be likely to advance the interests of their party. One paragraph spoke of the return of Bonaparte and promised another letter and further details, on the arrival of the Pharaon belonging to the shipbuilder Morrel, of Marseilles, whose captain was entirely devoted to the emperor.”

there was something awful in hearing the son read aloud in trembling pallor these details of his father’s death, which had hitherto been a mystery. Valentine clasped her hands as if in prayer. Noirtier looked at Villefort with an almost sublime expression of contempt and pride.”

The general fell, then, in a loyal duel, and not in ambush as it might have been reported. In proof of this we have signed this paper to establish the truth of the facts, lest the moment should arrive when either of the actors in this terrible scene should be accused of premeditated murder or of infringement of the laws of honor.”

<tell me the name of the president of the club, that I may at least know who killed my father.> Villefort mechanically felt for the handle of the door; Valentine, who understood sooner than anyone her grandfather’s answer, and who had often seen two scars upon his right arm, drew back a few steps. <Mademoiselle,> said Franz, turning towards Valentine, <unite your efforts with mine to find out the name of the man who made me an orphan at two years of age.> Valentine remained dumb and motionless.”

M, repeated Franz. The young man’s finger, glided over the words, but at each one Noirtier answered by a negative sign. Valentine hid her head between her hands. At length, Franz arrived at the word MYSELF.”

what is required of a young man in Paris? To speak its language tolerably, to make a good appearance, to be a good gamester, and to pay in cash.”

As for his wife, he bowed to her, as some husbands do to their wives, but in a way that bachelors will never comprehend, until a very extensive code is published on conjugal life.”

The two young ladies were seen seated on the same chair, at the piano, accompanying themselves, each with one hand, a fancy to which they had accustomed themselves, and performed admirably. Mademoiselle d’Armilly, whom they then perceived through the open doorway, formed with Eugénie one of the tableaux vivants of which the Germans are so fond. She was somewhat beautiful, and exquisitely formed—a little fairy-like figure, with large curls falling on her neck, which was rather too long, as Perugino sometimes makes his Virgins, and her eyes dull from fatigue. She was said to have a weak chest, and like Antonia in the Cremona Violin, she would die one day while singing. Monte Cristo cast one rapid and curious glance round this sanctum; it was the first time he had ever seen Mademoiselle d’Armilly, of whom he had heard much. <Well,> said the banker to his daughter, <are we then all to be excluded?> He then led the young man into the study, and either by chance or manœuvre the door was partially closed after Andrea, so that from the place where they sat neither the Count nor the baroness could see anything; but as the banker had accompanied Andrea, Madame Danglars appeared to take no notice of it.”

<Then you are wrong, madame. Fortune is precarious; and if I were a woman and fate had made me a banker’s wife, whatever might be my confidence in my husband’s good fortune, still in speculation you know there is great risk. Well, I would secure for myself a fortune independent of him, even if I acquired it by placing my interests in hands unknown to him.> Madame Danglars blushed, in spite of all her efforts. <Stay,> said Monte Cristo, as though he had not observed her confusion, <I have heard of a lucky hit that was made yesterday on the Neapolitan bonds.>”

<Yes,> said Monte Cristo, <I have heard that; but, as Claudius said to Hamlet, ‘it is a law of nature; their fathers died before them, and they mourned their loss; they will die before their children, who will, in their turn, grieve for them.’>”

How extraordinary! And how does M. de Villefort bear it?”

As usual. Like a philosopher.” Danglars returned at this moment alone. “Well,” said the baroness, “do you leave M. Cavalcanti with your daughter?”

And Mademoiselle d’Armilly,” said the banker; “do you consider her no one?” Then, turning to Monte Cristo, he said, “Prince Cavalcanti is a charming young man, is he not? But is he really a prince?”


Conde > Visconde > Duque > Barão > Baronete

OBS: A acepção Latina de <barão> é depreciativa.

it is so delightful to hear music in the distance, when the musicians are unrestrained by observation.”

He is a musician.”

So are all Italians.”

Come, count, you do not do that young man justice.”

Well, I acknowledge it annoys me, knowing your connection with the Morcerf family, to see him throw himself in the way.” Danglars burst out laughing.

What a Puritan you are!” said he; “that happens every day.”

But you cannot break it off in this way; the Morcerfs are depending on this union.”

Oh, my dear count, husbands are pretty much the same everywhere; an individual husband of any country is a pretty fair specimen of the whole race.”

Haydée—what an adorable name! Are there, then, really women who bear the name of Haydée anywhere but in Byron’s poems?”

Certainly there are. Haydée is a very uncommon name in France, but is common enough in Albania and Epirus; it is as if you said, for example, Chastity, Modesty, Innocence,—it is a kind of baptismal name, as you Parisians call it.”

Oh, that is charming,” said Albert, “how I should like to hear my countrywomen called Mademoiselle Goodness, Mademoiselle Silence, Mademoiselle Christian Charity! Only think, then, if Mademoiselle Danglars, instead of being called Claire-Marie-Eugénie, had been named Mademoiselle Chastity-Modesty-Innocence Danglars; what a fine effect that would have produced on the announcement of her marriage!”

How was it that Dionysius the Tyrant became a schoolmaster? The fortune of war, my dear viscount,—the caprice of fortune; that is the way in which these things are to be accounted for.”

Monte Cristo turned to Albert. <Do you know modern Greek,> asked he.

<Alas! no,> said Albert; <nor even ancient Greek, my dear count; never had Homer or Plato a more unworthy scholar than myself.>

Monte Cristo turned to Haydée, and with an expression of countenance which commanded her to pay the most implicit attention to his words, he said in Greek,—<Tell us the fate of your father; but neither the name of the traitor nor the treason.> Haydée sighed deeply, and a shade of sadness clouded her beautiful brow.”

that unsophisticated innocence of childhood which throws a charm round objects insignificant in themselves, but which in its eyes are invested with the greatest importance.”

things which in the evening look dark and obscure, appear but too clearly in the light of morning, and sometimes the utterance of one word, or the lapse of a single day, will reveal the most cruel calumnies.”

the breaking off of a marriage contract always injures the lady more than the gentleman.”

one must never be eccentric. If one’s lot is cast among fools, it is necessary to study folly.” “alguém nunca deve ser excêntrico. Se a alguém couber a mesma sorte que a dos loucos, é preciso estudar a loucura.”

Supposing the assertion to be really true?”

A son ought not to submit to such a stain on his father’s honor.”

Ma foi! we live in times when there is much to which we must submit.”

That is precisely the fault of the age.”

And do you undertake to reform it?”

Yes, as far as I am personally concerned.”

Well, you are indeed exacting, my dear fellow!”

Ah, but the friends of today are the enemies of tomorrow”

When you wish to obtain some concession from a man’s self-love, you must avoid even the appearance of wishing to wound it.”

It was a gloomy, dusty-looking apartment, such as journalists’ offices have always been from time immemorial.

I have heard it said that hearts inflamed by obstacles to their desire grew cold in time of security”

People die very suddenly in your house, M. de Villefort.”

Well, sir, you have in your establishment, or in your family, perhaps, one of the frightful monstrosities of which each century produces only one. Locusta and Agrippina, living at the same time, were an exception, and proved the determination of Providence to effect the entire ruin of the Roman empire, sullied by so many crimes. Brunhilda and Fredegund were the results of the painful struggle of civilization in its infancy, when man was learning to control mind, were it even by an emissary from the realms of darkness. All these women had been, or were, beautiful. The same flower of innocence had flourished, or was still flourishing, on their brow, that is seen on the brow of the culprit in your house.”

<Seek whom the crime will profit,> says an axiom of jurisprudence.”

Doctor,” cried Villefort, “alas, doctor, how often has man’s justice been deceived by those fatal words.

<Oh, man,> murmured d’Avrigny, <the most selfish of all animals, the most personal of all creatures, who believes the earth turns, the sun shines, and death strikes for him alone,—an ant cursing God from the top of a blade of grass!>

no one knows, not even the assassin, that, for the last twelve months, I have given M. Noirtier brucine for his paralytic affection, while the assassin is not ignorant, for he has proved that brucine is a violent poison.”

for when crime enters a dwelling, it is like death—it does not come alone.  (…) What does it signify to you if I am murdered? Are you my friend? Are you a man? Have you a heart? No, you are a physician!”

Ah, Caderousse,” said Andrea, “how covetous you are! Two months ago you were dying with hunger.”

The appetite grows by what it feeds on,” said Caderousse, grinning and showing his teeth, like a monkey laughing or a tiger growling.

That Count of Monte Cristo is an original, who loves to look at the sky even at night.”

those thieves of jewellers imitate so well that it is no longer worthwhile to rob a jeweller’s shop—it is another branch of industry paralyzed.”

From his past life, from his resolution to shrink from nothing, the count had acquired an inconceivable relish for the contests in which he had engaged, sometimes against nature, that is to say, against God, and sometimes against the world, that is, against the devil.”

The count felt his heart beat more rapidly. Inured as men may be to danger, forewarned as they may be of peril, they understand, by the fluttering of the heart and the shuddering of the frame, the enormous difference between a dream and a reality, between the project and the execution.” “and one might distinguish by the glimmering through the open panel that he wore a pliant tunic of steel mail, of which the last in France, where daggers are no longer dreaded, was worn by King Louis XVI, who feared the dagger at his breast, and whose head was cleft with a hatchet.”

So you would rob the Count of Monte Cristo?” continued the false abbé.

Reverend sir, I am impelled——”

Every criminal says the same thing.”


Pshaw!” said Busoni disdainfully; “poverty may make a man beg, steal a loaf of bread at a baker’s door, but not cause him to open a secretary desk in a house supposed to be inhabited.”

Ah, reverend sir,” cried Caderousse, clasping his hands, and drawing nearer to Monte Cristo, “I may indeed say you are my deliverer!”

You mean to say you have been freed from confinement?”

Yes, that is true, reverend sir.”

Who was your liberator?”

An Englishman.”

What was his name?”

Lord Wilmore.”

I know him; I shall know if you lie.”

Ah, reverend sir, I tell you the simple truth.”

Was this Englishman protecting you?”

No, not me, but a young Corsican, my companion.”

What was this young Corsican’s name?”


Is that his Christian name?”

He had no other; he was a foundling.”

Then this young man escaped with you?”

He did.”

In what way?”

We were working at Saint-Mandrier, near Toulon. Do you know Saint-Mandrier?”

I do.”

In the hour of rest, between noon and one o’clock——”

Galley-slaves having a nap after dinner! We may well pity the poor fellows!” said the abbé.

Nay,” said Caderousse, “one can’t always work—one is not a dog.”

So much the better for the dogs,” said Monte Cristo.

While the rest slept, then, we went away a short distance; we severed our fetters with a file the Englishman had given us, and swam away.”

And what is become of this Benedetto?”

I don’t know.”

You ought to know.”

No, in truth; we parted at Hyères.” And, to give more weight to his protestation, Caderousse advanced another step towards the abbé, who remained motionless in his place, as calm as ever, and pursuing his interrogation. “You lie,” said the Abbé Busoni, with a tone of irresistible authority.

Reverend sir!”

You lie! This man is still your friend, and you, perhaps, make use of him as your accomplice.”

Oh, reverend sir!”

Since you left Toulon what have you lived on? Answer me!”

On what I could get.”

You lie,” repeated the abbé a third time, with a still more imperative tone. Caderousse, terrified, looked at the count. “You have lived on the money he has given you.”

True,” said Caderousse; “Benedetto has become the son of a great lord.”

How can he be the son of a great lord?”

A natural son.”

And what is that great lord’s name?”

The Count of Monte Cristo, the very same in whose house we are.”

Benedetto the count’s son?” replied Monte Cristo, astonished in his turn.

Well, I should think so, since the count has found him a false father—since the count gives him 4.000 francs a month, and leaves him 500.000 francs in his will.”

Ah, yes,” said the factitious abbé, who began to understand; “and what name does the young man bear meanwhile?”

Andrea Cavalcanti.”

Is it, then, that young man whom my friend the Count of Monte Cristo has received into his house, and who is going to marry Mademoiselle Danglars?”


And you suffer that, you wretch—you, who know his life and his crime?”

Why should I stand in a comrade’s way?” said Caderousse.

You are right; it is not you who should apprise M. Danglars, it is I.”

Do not do so, reverend sir.”

Why not?”

Because you would bring us to ruin.”

And you think that to save such villains as you I will become an abettor of their plot, an accomplice in their crimes?”

Reverend sir,” said Caderousse, drawing still nearer.

I will expose all.”

To whom?”

To M. Danglars.”

By heaven!” cried Caderousse, drawing from his waistcoat an open knife, and striking the count in the breast, “you shall disclose nothing, reverend sir!” To Caderousse’s great astonishment, the knife, instead of piercing the count’s breast, flew back blunted. At the same moment the count seized with his left hand the assassin’s wrist, and wrung it with such strength that the knife fell from his stiffened fingers, and Caderousse uttered a cry of pain. But the count, disregarding his cry, continued to wring the bandit’s wrist, until, his arm being dislocated, he fell first on his knees, then flat on the floor. The count then placed his foot on his head, saying, “I know not what restrains me from crushing thy skull, rascal.”

Ah, mercy—mercy!” cried Caderousse. The count withdrew his foot. “Rise!” said he. Caderousse rose.

What a wrist you have, reverend sir!” said Caderousse, stroking his arm, all bruised by the fleshy pincers which had held it; “what a wrist!”

Silence! God gives me strength to overcome a wild beast like you; in the name of that God I act,—remember that, wretch,—and to spare thee at this moment is still serving him.”

Oh!” said Caderousse, groaning with pain.

Take this pen and paper, and write what I dictate.”

I don’t know how to write, reverend sir.”

You lie! Take this pen, and write!” Caderousse, awed by the superior power of the abbé, sat down and wrote:—

Sir,—The man whom you are receiving at your house, and to whom you intend to marry your daughter, is a felon who escaped with me from confinement at Toulon. He was Nº 59, and I Nº 58. He was called Benedetto, but he is ignorant of his real name, having never known his parents.

Sign it!” continued the count.

But would you ruin me?”

If I sought your ruin, fool, I should drag you to the first guard-house; besides, when that note is delivered, in all probability you will have no more to fear. Sign it, then!”

Caderousse signed it.

And you did not warn me!” cried Caderousse, raising himself on his elbows. “You knew I should be killed on leaving this house, and did not warn me!”

No; for I saw God’s justice placed in the hands of Benedetto, and should have thought it sacrilege to oppose the designs of Providence.”

God is merciful to all, as he has been to you; he is first a father, then a judge.”

Do you then believe in God?” said Caderousse.

Had I been so unhappy as not to believe in him until now,” said Monte Cristo, “I must believe on seeing you.” Caderousse raised his clenched hands towards heaven.

Help!” cried Caderousse; “I require a surgeon, not a priest; perhaps I am not mortally wounded—I may not die; perhaps they can yet save my life.”

Your wounds are so far mortal that, without the three drops I gave you, you would now be dead. Listen, then.”

Ah,” murmured Caderousse, “what a strange priest you are; you drive the dying to despair, instead of consoling them.”

I do not believe there is a God,” howled Caderousse; “you do not believe it; you lie—you lie!”

No,” said Caderousse, “no; I will not repent. There is no God; there is no Providence—all comes by chance.—”

Monte Cristo took off the wig which disfigured him, and let fall his black hair, which added so much to the beauty of his pallid features. <Oh?> said Caderousse, thunderstruck, <but for that black hair, I should say you were the Englishman, Lord Wilmore.>

<I am neither the Abbé Busoni nor Lord Wilmore,> said Monte Cristo; <think again,—do you not recollect me?> There was a magic effect in the count’s words, which once more revived the exhausted powers of the miserable man. <Yes, indeed,> said he; <I think I have seen you and known you formerly.>

<Yes, Caderousse, you have seen me; you knew me once.>

<Who, then, are you? and why, if you knew me, do you let me die?>

<Because nothing can save you; your wounds are mortal. Had it been possible to save you, I should have considered it another proof of God’s mercy, and I would again have endeavored to restore you, I swear by my father’s tomb.>

<By your father’s tomb!> said Caderousse, supported by a supernatural power, and half-raising himself to see more distinctly the man who had just taken the oath which all men hold sacred; <who, then, are you?> The count had watched the approach of death. He knew this was the last struggle. He approached the dying man, and, leaning over him with a calm and melancholy look, he whispered, <I am—I am——>

And his almost closed lips uttered a name so low that the count himself appeared afraid to hear it. Caderousse, who had raised himself on his knees, and stretched out his arm, tried to draw back, then clasping his hands, and raising them with a desperate effort, <O my God, my God!> said he, <pardon me for having denied thee; thou dost exist, thou art indeed man’s father in heaven, and his judge on earth. My God, my Lord, I have long despised thee!>”

<One!> said the count mysteriously, his eyes fixed on the corpse, disfigured by so awful a death.”

Bertuccio alone turned pale whenever Benedetto’s name was mentioned in his presence, but there was no reason why anyone should notice his doing so.”

the attempted robbery and the murder of the robber by his comrade were almost forgotten in anticipation of the approaching marriage of Mademoiselle Danglars to the Count Andrea Cavalcanti.”

some persons had warned the young man of the circumstances of his future father-in-law, who had of late sustained repeated losses; but with sublime disinterestedness and confidence the young man refused to listen, or to express a single doubt to the baron.”

With an instinctive hatred of matrimony, she suffered Andrea’s attentions in order to get rid of Morcerf; but when Andrea urged his suit, she betrayed an entire dislike to him. The baron might possibly have perceived it, but, attributing it to a caprice, feigned ignorance.”

in this changing age, the faults of a father cannot revert upon his children. Few have passed through this revolutionary period, in the midst of which we were born, without some stain of infamy or blood to soil the uniform of the soldier, or the gown of the magistrate. Now I have these proofs, Albert, and I am in your confidence, no human power can force me to a duel which your own conscience would reproach you with as criminal, but I come to offer you what you can no longer demand of me. Do you wish these proofs, these attestations, which I alone possess, to be destroyed? Do you wish this frightful secret to remain with us?”

he never interrogates, and in my opinion those who ask no questions are the best comforters.”

My papers, thank God, no,—my papers are all in capital order, because I have none”

do you come from the end of the world?” said Monte Cristo; “you, a journalist, the husband of renown? It is the talk of all Paris.”

Silence, purveyor of gossip”

Mademoiselle Eugénie, who appears but little charmed with the thoughts of matrimony, and who, seeing how little I was disposed to persuade her to renounce her dear liberty, retains any affection for me.”

I have told you, where the air is pure, where every sound soothes, where one is sure to be humbled, however proud may be his nature. I love that humiliation, I, who am master of the universe, as was Augustus.”

But where are you really going?”

To sea, viscount; you know I am a sailor. I was rocked when an infant in the arms of old Ocean, and on the bosom of the beautiful Amphitrite” “I love the sea as a mistress, and pine if I do not often see her.”

<Woman is fickle.> said Francis I; <woman is like a wave of the sea,> said Shakespeare; both the great king and the great poet ought to have known woman’s nature well.”

Woman’s, yes; my mother is not woman, but a woman.”

my mother is not quick to give her confidence, but when she does she never changes.”

You are certainly a prodigy; you will soon not only surpass the railway, which would not be very difficult in France, but even the telegraph.”

Precisely,” said the count; “six years since I bought a horse in Hungary remarkable for its swiftness. The 32 that we shall use tonight are its progeny; they are all entirely black, with the exception of a star upon the forehead.”

M. Albert. Tell me, why does a steward rob his master?”

Because, I suppose, it is his nature to do so, for the love of robbing.”

You are mistaken; it is because he has a wife and family, and ambitious desires for himself and them. Also because he is not sure of always retaining his situation, and wishes to provide for the future. Now, M. Bertuccio is alone in the world; he uses my property without accounting for the use he makes of it; he is sure never to leave my service.”


Because I should never get a better.”

Probabilities are deceptive.”

But I deal in certainties; he is the best servant over whom one has the power of life and death.”

Do you possess that right over Bertuccio?”


There are words which close a conversation with an iron door; such was the count’s “yes.”

There, as in every spot where Monte Cristo stopped, if but for two days, luxury abounded and life went on with the utmost ease.”

Poor young man,” said Monte Cristo in a low voice; “it is then true that the sin of the father shall fall on the children to the third and fourth generation.”

Five minutes had sufficed to make a complete transformation in his appearance. His voice had become rough and hoarse; his face was furrowed with wrinkles; his eyes burned under the blue-veined lids, and he tottered like a drunken man. <Count,> said he, <I thank you for your hospitality, which I would gladly have enjoyed longer; but I must return to Paris.>

<What has happened?>

<A great misfortune, more important to me than life. Don’t question me, I beg of you, but lend me a horse.>

<My stables are at your command, viscount; but you will kill yourself by riding on horseback. Take a post-chaise or a carriage.>”

The Count of Morcerf was no favorite with his colleagues. Like all upstarts, he had had recourse to a great deal of haughtiness to maintain his position. The true nobility laughed at him, the talented repelled him, and the honorable instinctively despised him. He was, in fact, in the unhappy position of the victim marked for sacrifice; the finger of God once pointed at him, everyone was prepared to raise the hue and cry.”

Moral wounds have this peculiarity,—they may be hidden, but they never close; always painful, always ready to bleed when touched, they remain fresh and open in the heart.”

He thought himself strong enough, for he mistook fever for energy.”

I, El-Kobbir, a slave-merchant, and purveyor of the harem of his highness, acknowledge having received for transmission to the sublime emperor, from the French lord, the Count of Monte Cristo, an emerald valued at 800.000 francs; as the ransom of a young Christian slave of 11 years of age, named Haydée, the acknowledged daughter of the late lord Ali Tepelini, pasha of Yanina, and of Vasiliki, his favorite; she having been sold to me 7 years previously, with her mother, who had died on arriving at Constantinople, by a French colonel in the service of the Vizier Ali Tepelini, named Fernand Mondego. The above-mentioned purchase was made on his highness’s account, whose mandate I had, for the sum of 400.000 francs.

Given at Constantinople, by authority of his highness, in the year 1247 of the Hegira.

Signed El-Kobbir.

I am ignorant of nothing which passes in the world. I learn all in the silence of my apartments,—for instance, I see all the newspapers, every periodical, as well as every new piece of music; and by thus watching the course of the life of others, I learned what had transpired this morning in the House of Peers, and what was to take place this evening; then I wrote.”

Then,” remarked the president, “the Count of Monte Cristo knows nothing of your present proceedings?”—“He is quite unaware of them, and I have but one fear, which is that he should disapprove of what I have done. But it is a glorious day for me,” continued the young girl, raising her ardent gaze to heaven, “that on which I find at last an opportunity of avenging my father!”

Gentlemen,” said the president, when silence was restored, “is the Count of Morcerf convicted of felony, treason, and conduct unbecoming a member of this House?”—“Yes,” replied all the members of the committee of inquiry with a unanimous voice.

leave Paris—all is soon forgotten in this great Babylon of excitement and changing tastes. You will return after 3 or years with a Russian princess for a bride, and no one will think more of what occurred yesterday than if it had happened 16 years ago.”

Yes; M. Danglars is a money-lover, and those who love money, you know, think too much of what they risk to be easily induced to fight a duel. The other is, on the contrary, to all appearance a true nobleman; but do you not fear to find him a bully?”

I only fear one thing; namely, to find a man who will not fight.”

The count had, indeed, just arrived, but he was in his bath, and had forbidden that anyone should be admitted. “But after his bath?” asked Morcerf.

My master will go to dinner.”

And after dinner?”

He will sleep an hour.”


He is going to the Opera.”

You know, mother, M. de Monte Cristo is almost an Oriental, and it is customary with the Orientals to secure full liberty for revenge by not eating or drinking in the houses of their enemies.”

Well,” cried he, with that benevolent politeness which distinguished his salutation from the common civilities of the world, “my cavalier has attained his object. Good-evening, M. de Morcerf.” 

Display is not becoming to everyone, M. de Morcerf.”

Wild, almost unconscious, and with eyes inflamed, Albert stepped back, and Morrel closed the door. Monte Cristo took up his glass again as if nothing had happened; his face was like marble, and his heart was like bronze. Morrel whispered, <What have you done to him?>”

listen how adorably Duprez is singing that line,—

<O Mathilde! idole de mon âme!>

I was the first to discover Duprez at Naples, and the first to applaud him. Bravo, bravo!” Morrel saw it was useless to say more, and refrained.

Doubtless you wish to make me appear a very eccentric character. I am, in your opinion, a Lara, a Manfred, a Lord Ruthven; then, just as I am arriving at the climax, you defeat your own end, and seek to make an ordinary man of me. You bring me down to your own level, and demand explanations! Indeed, M. Beauchamp, it is quite laughable.”

the Count of Monte Cristo bows to none but the Count of Monte Cristo himself. Say no more, I entreat you. I do what I please, M. Beauchamp, and it is always well done.”

It is quite immaterial to me,” said Monte Cristo, “and it was very unnecessary to disturb me at the Opera for such a trifle. In France people fight with the sword or pistol, in the colonies with the carbine, in Arabia with the dagger. Tell your client that, although I am the insulted party, in order to carry out my eccentricity, I leave him the choice of arms, and will accept without discussion, without dispute, anything, even combat by drawing lots, which is always stupid, but with me different from other people, as I am sure to gain.”

the music of William Tell¹ is so sweet.”

¹ Herói lendário, ligado à formação da Suíça. Está mais para um Robin Hood que para um Aquiles, no entanto.

Monte Cristo waited, according to his usual custom, until Duprez had sung his famous <Suivez-moi!> then he rose and went out.”

Edmond, you will not kill my son?” The count retreated a step, uttered a slight exclamation, and let fall the pistol he held.

Fernand, do you mean?” replied Monte Cristo, with bitter irony; “since we are recalling names, let us remember them all.”

Listen to me, my son has also guessed who you are,—he attributes his father’s misfortunes to you.”

Madame, you are mistaken, they are not misfortunes,—it is a punishment.”

What are Yanina and its vizier to you, Edmond? What injury has Fernand Mondego done you in betraying Ali Tepelini?”

Ah, sir!” cried the countess, “how terrible a vengeance for a fault which fatality made me commit!—for I am the only culprit, Edmond, and if you owe revenge to anyone, it is to me, who had not fortitude to bear your absence and my solitude.”

But,” exclaimed Monte Cristo, “why was I absent? And why were you alone?”

Because you had been arrested, Edmond, and were a prisoner.”

And why was I arrested? Why was I a prisoner?”

I do not know,” said Mercédès.

You do not, madame; at least, I hope not. But I will tell you. I was arrested and became a prisoner because, under the arbor of La Réserve, the day before I was to marry you, a man named Danglars wrote this letter, which the fisherman Fernand himself posted.”

Monte Cristo went to a secretary desk, opened a drawer by a spring, from which he took a paper which had lost its original color, and the ink of which had become of a rusty hue—this he placed in the hands of Mercédès. It was Danglars’ letter to the king’s attorney, which the Count of Monte Cristo, disguised as a clerk from the house of Thomson & French, had taken from the file against Edmond Dantes, on the day he had paid the two hundred thousand francs to M. de Boville. Mercédès read with terror the following lines:—

The king”s attorney is informed by a friend to the throne and religion that one Edmond Dantes, second in command on board the Pharaon, this day arrived from Smyrna, after having touched at Naples and Porto-Ferrajo, is the bearer of a letter from Murat to the usurper, and of another letter from the usurper to the Bonapartist club in Paris. Ample corroboration of this statement may be obtained by arresting the above-mentioned Edmond Dantès, who either carries the letter for Paris about with him, or has it at his father’s abode. Should it not be found in possession of either father or son, then it will assuredly be discovered in the cabin belonging to the said Dantes on board the Pharaon.”

You well know, madame, was my arrest; but you do not know how long that arrest lasted. You do not know that I remained for fourteen years within a quarter of a league of you, in a dungeon in the Château d’If. You do not know that every day of those fourteen years I renewed the vow of vengeance which I had made the first day; and yet I was not aware that you had married Fernand, my calumniator, and that my father had died of hunger!”

Can it be?” cried Mercédès, shuddering.

That is what I heard on leaving my prison fourteen years after I had entered it; and that is why, on account of the living Mercédès and my deceased father, I have sworn to revenge myself on Fernand, and—I have revenged myself.”

besides, that is not much more odious than that a Frenchman by adoption should pass over to the English; that a Spaniard by birth should have fought against the Spaniards; that a stipendiary of Ali should have betrayed and murdered Ali. Compared with such things, what is the letter you have just read?—a lover’s deception, which the woman who has married that man ought certainly to forgive; but not so the lover who was to have married her.” 

Not crush that accursed race?” murmured he; “abandon my purpose at the moment of its accomplishment? Impossible, madame, impossible!”

Revenge yourself, then, Edmond,” cried the poor mother; “but let your vengeance fall on the culprits,—on him, on me, but not on my son!”

It is written in the good book,” said Monte Cristo, “that the sins of the fathers shall fall upon their children to the third and fourth generation. Since God himself dictated those words to his prophet, why should I seek to make myself better than God?”

Listen; for ten years I dreamed each night the same dream. I had been told that you had endeavored to escape; that you had taken the place of another prisoner; that you had slipped into the winding sheet of a dead body; that you had been thrown alive from the top of the Château d’If, and that the cry you uttered as you dashed upon the rocks first revealed to your jailers that they were your murderers. Well, Edmond, I swear to you, by the head of that son for whom I entreat your pity,—Edmond, for ten years I saw every night every detail of that frightful tragedy, and for ten years I heard every night the cry which awoke me, shuddering and cold.”

What I most loved after you, Mercédès, was myself, my dignity, and that strength which rendered me superior to other men; that strength was my life. With one word you have crushed it, and I die.”

it is melancholy to pass one’s life without having one joy to recall, without preserving a single hope; but that proves that all is not yet over. No, it is not finished; I feel it by what remains in my heart. Oh, I repeat it, Edmond; what you have just done is beautiful—it is grand; it is sublime.”

suppose that when everything was in readiness and the moment had come for God to look upon his work and see that it was good—suppose he had snuffed out the sun and tossed the world back into eternal night—then—even then, Mercédès, you could not imagine what I lose in sacrificing my life at this moment.”

What a fool I was,” said he, “not to tear my heart out on the day when I resolved to avenge myself!”


what? this edifice which I have been so long preparing, which I have reared with so much care and toil, is to be crushed by a single touch, a word, a breath! Yes, this self, of whom I thought so much, of whom I was so proud, who had appeared so worthless in the dungeons of the Château d’If, and whom I had succeeded in making so great, will be but a lump of clay tomorrow. Alas, it is not the death of the body I regret; for is not the destruction of the vital principle, the repose to which everything is tending, to which every unhappy being aspires,—is not this the repose of matter after which I so long sighed, and which I was seeking to attain by the painful process of starvation when Faria appeared in my dungeon? What is death for me? One step farther” But now is time to set back once again…

It is not God’s will that they should be accomplished.”

Oh, shall I then, again become a fatalist, whom fourteen years of despair and ten of hope had rendered a believer in Providence? And all this—all this, because my heart, which I thought dead, was only sleeping; because it has awakened and has begun to beat again, because I have yielded to the pain of the emotion excited in my breast by a woman’s voice.

yet, it is impossible that so noble-minded a woman should thus through selfishness consent to my death when I am in the prime of life and strength; it is impossible that she can carry to such a point maternal love, or rather delirium. There are virtues which become crimes by exaggeration. No, she must have conceived some pathetic scene; she will come and throw herself between us; and what would be sublime here will there appear ridiculous.”

I ridiculous? No, I would rather die.”

By thus exaggerating to his own mind the anticipated ill-fortune of the next day, to which he had condemned himself by promising Mercédès to spare her son, the count at last exclaimed, “Folly, folly, folly!—to carry generosity so far as to put myself up as a mark for that young man to aim at. He will never believe that my death was suicide; and yet it is important for the honor of my memory,—and this surely is not vanity, but a justifiable pride,—it is important the world should know that I have consented, by my free will, to stop my arm, already raised to strike, and that with the arm which has been so powerful against others I have struck myself. It must be; it shall be.” She remembered that she had a son, said he; and I forgot I had a daughter.

and seeing that sweet pale face, those lovely eyes closed, that beautiful form motionless and to all appearance lifeless, the idea occurred to him for the first time, that perhaps she loved him otherwise than as a daughter loves a father.”

I said to myself that justice must be on your side, or man’s countenance is no longer to be relied on.”

But what has happened, then, since last evening, count?”

The same thing that happened to Brutus the night before the battle of Philippi; I have seen a ghost.”

And that ghost——”

Told me, Morrel, that I had lived long enough.”

Do I regret life? What is it to me, who have passed twenty years between life and death? (…) I know the world is a drawing-room, from which we must retire politely and honestly; that is, with a bow, and our debts of honor paid.”

<I say, and proclaim it publicly, that you were justified in revenging yourself on my father, and I, his son, thank you for not using greater severity.>

Had a thunderbolt fallen in the midst of the spectators of this unexpected scene, it would not have surprised them more than did Albert’s declaration. As for Monte Cristo, his eyes slowly rose towards heaven with an expression of infinite gratitude. He could not understand how Albert’s fiery nature, of which he had seen so much among the Roman bandits, had suddenly stooped to this humiliation.”

Next to the merit of infallibility which you appear to possess, I rank that of candidly acknowledging a fault. But this confession concerns me only. I acted well as a man, but you have acted better than man.”

Providence still,” murmured he; “now only am I fully convinced of being the emissary of God!”

nothing induces serious duels so much as a duel forsworn.”

Mother,” said Albert with firmness. “I cannot make you share the fate I have planned for myself. I must live henceforth without rank and fortune, and to begin this hard apprenticeship I must borrow from a friend the loaf I shall eat until I have earned one. So, my dear mother, I am going at once to ask Franz to lend me the small sum I shall require to supply my present wants.”

I know that from the gulf in which their enemies have plunged them they have risen with so much vigor and glory that in their turn they have ruled their former conquerors, and have punished them.”

You had friends, Albert; break off their acquaintance. But do not despair; you have life before you, my dear Albert, for you are yet scarcely 22 years old; and as a pure heart like yours wants a spotless name, take my father’s—it was Herrera.”

Providence is not willing that the innocent should suffer for the guilty.”

Oh,” said the count, “I only know two things which destroy the appetite,—grief—and as I am happy to see you very cheerful, it is not that—and love.”

Every transport of a daughter finding a father, all the delight of a mistress seeing an adored lover, were felt by Haydée during the first moments of this meeting, which she had so eagerly expected. Doubtless, although less evident, Monte Cristo’s joy was not less intense. Joy to hearts which have suffered long is like the dew on the ground after a long drought; both the heart and the ground absorb that beneficent moisture falling on them, and nothing is outwardly apparent.

Monte Cristo was beginning to think, what he had not for a long time dared to believe, that there were two Mercédès in the world, and he might yet be happy.

We must explain this visit, which although expected by Monte Cristo, is unexpected to our readers.”

you know the guilty do not like to find themselves convicted.”

You call yourself, in Paris, the Count of Monte Cristo; in Italy, Sinbad the Sailor; in Malta, I forget what. But it is your real name I want to know, in the midst of your hundred names, that I may pronounce it when we meet to fight, at the moment when I plunge my sword through your heart.”

he uttered the most dreadful sob which ever escaped from the bosom of a father abandoned at the same time by his wife and son.”

Do you then really suffer?” asked Morrel quickly.

Oh, it must not be called suffering; I feel a general uneasiness, that is all. I have lost my appetite, and my stomach feels as if it were struggling to get accustomed to something.” Noirtier did not lose a word of what Valentine said. “And what treatment do you adopt for this singular complaint?”

A very simple one,” said Valentine. “I swallow every morning a spoonful of the mixture prepared for my grandfather. When I say one spoonful, I began by one—now I take four. Grandpapa says it is a panacea.” Valentine smiled, but it was evident that she suffered.

Maximilian, in his devotedness, gazed silently at her. She was very beautiful, but her usual pallor had increased; her eyes were more brilliant than ever, and her hands, which were generally white like mother-of-pearl, now more resembled wax, to which time was adding a yellowish hue.

Noirtier raised his eyes to heaven, as a gambler does who stakes his all on one stroke.”

since I am to be married whether I will or not, I ought to be thankful to Providence for having released me from my engagement with M. Albert de Morcerf, or I should this day have been the wife of a dishonored man.”

D’Avrigny’s look implied, “I told you it would be so.” Then he slowly uttered these words, “Who is now dying in your house? What new victim is going to accuse you of weakness before God?” A mournful sob burst from Villefort’s heart; he approached the doctor, and seizing his arm,—“Valentine,” said he, “it is Valentine’s turn!”

Your daughter!” cried d’Avrigny with grief and surprise.

a dead father or husband is better than a dishonored one,—blood washes out shame.”

You say an exterminating angel appears to have devoted that house to God’s anger—well, who says your supposition is not reality?”

Conscience, what hast thou to do with me?” as Sterne said.

See,” said he, “my dear friend, how God punishes the most thoughtless and unfeeling men for their indifference, by presenting dreadful scenes to their view. (…) I, who like a wicked angel was laughing at the evil men committed protected by secrecy (a secret is easily kept by the rich and powerful), I am in my turn bitten by the serpent whose tortuous course I was watching, and bitten to the heart!”

What does the angel of light or the angel of darkness say to that mind, at once implacable and generous? God only knows.”

Oh, count, you overwhelm me with that coolness. Have you, then, power against death? Are you superhuman? Are you an angel?”

To the world and to his servants Danglars assumed the character of the good-natured man and the indulgent father. This was one of his parts in the popular comedy he was performing,—a make-up he had adopted and which suited him about as well as the masks worn on the classic stage by paternal actors, who seen from one side, were the image of geniality, and from the other showed lips drawn down in chronic ill-temper. Let us hasten to say that in private the genial side descended to the level of the other, so that generally the indulgent man disappeared to give place to the brutal husband and domineering father.”

Cavalcanti may appear to those who look at men’s faces and figures as a very good specimen of his kind. It is not, either, that my heart is less touched by him than any other; that would be a schoolgirl’s reason, which I consider quite beneath me. I actually love no one, sir; you know it, do you not? I do not then see why, without real necessity, I should encumber my life with a perpetual companion. Has not some sage said, <Nothing too much>? and another, <I carry all my effects with me>? I have been taught these two aphorisms in Latin and in Greek; one is, I believe, from Phædrus, and the other from Bias. (…) life is an eternal shipwreck of our hopes”

The world calls me beautiful. It is something to be well received. I like a favorable reception; it expands the countenance, and those around me do not then appear so ugly. I possess a share of wit, and a certain relative sensibility, which enables me to draw from life in general, for the support of mine, all I meet with that is good, like the monkey who cracks the nut to get at its contents. I am rich, for you have one of the first fortunes in France. I am your only daughter, and you are not so exacting as the fathers of the Porte Saint-Martin and Gaîté, who disinherit their daughters for not giving them grandchildren. Besides, the provident law has deprived you of the power to disinherit me, at least entirely, as it has also of the power to compel me to marry Monsieur This or Monsieur That. And so—being, beautiful, witty, somewhat talented, as the comic operas say, and rich—and that is happiness, sir—why do you call me unhappy?”

Eugénie looked at Danglars, much surprised that one flower of her crown of pride, with which she had so superbly decked herself, should be disputed.”

I do not willingly enter into arithmetical explanations with an artist like you, who fears to enter my study lest she should imbibe disagreeable or anti-poetic impressions and sensations.”

the credit of a banker is his physical and moral life; that credit sustains him as breath animates the body”

as credit sinks, the body becomes a corpse, and this is what must happen very soon to the banker who is proud to own so good a logician as you for his daughter.” But Eugénie, instead of stooping, drew herself up under the blow. “Ruined?” said she.

Yes, ruined! Now it is revealed, this secret so full of horror, as the tragic poet says. Now, my daughter, learn from my lips how you may alleviate this misfortune, so far as it will affect you.””

Oh,” cried Eugénie, “you are a bad physiognomist, if you imagine I deplore on my own account the catastrophe of which you warn me. I ruined? and what will that signify to me? Have I not my talent left? Can I not, like Pasta¹, Malibran², Grisi³, acquire for myself what you would never have given me, whatever might have been your fortune, 100 or 150.000 livres per annum, for which I shall be indebted to no one but myself; and which, instead of being given as you gave me those poor 12.000 francs, with sour looks and reproaches for my prodigality, will be accompanied with acclamations, with bravos, and with flowers? And if I do not possess that talent, which your smiles prove to me you doubt, should I not still have that ardent love of independence, which will be a substitute for wealth, and which in my mind supersedes even the instinct of self-preservation? No, I grieve not on my own account, I shall always find a resource; my books, my pencils, my piano, all the things which cost but little, and which I shall be able to procure, will remain my own.

¹ Giuditta Pasta, soprano italiana do século XIX.

² Maria Malibran, mezzo-soprano espanhola, foi contemporânea de G. Pasta, mas só viveu 28 anos.

³ Outra mezzo-soprano de família abastada e freqüente nas óperas de Rossini. Na verdade, a dúvida é se se trata de Giuditta ou Giulia, a caçula, ambas muito talentosas.

From my earliest recollections, I have been beloved by no one—so much the worse; that has naturally led me to love no one—so much the better—now you have my profession of faith.”

I do not despise bankruptcies, believe me, but they must be those which enrich, not those which ruin.”

Five minutes afterwards the piano resounded to the touch of Mademoiselle d’Armilly’s fingers, and Mademoiselle Danglars was singing Brabantio’s malediction on Desdemona¹.

¹ Ou “Brabanzio”. Trata-se de uma cena do Otelo de Shakespeare.

Without reckoning,” added Monte Cristo, “that he is on the eve of entering into a sort of speculation already in vogue in the United States and in England, but quite novel in France.”

Yes, yes, I know what you mean,—the railway, of which he has obtained the grant, is it not?”

Precisely; it is generally believed he will gain ten millions by that affair.”

Ten millions! Do you think so? It is magnificent!” said Cavalcanti, who was quite confounded at the metallic sound of these golden words.

Well, you must become a diplomatist; diplomacy, you know, is something that is not to be acquired; it is instinctive. Have you lost your heart?”

This calm tone and perfect ease made Andrea feel that he was, for the moment, restrained by a more muscular hand than his own, and that the restraint could not be easily broken through.”

What is it?”


Be careful; advice is worse than a service.”

An Academician would say that the entertainments of the fashionable world are collections of flowers which attract inconstant butterflies, famished bees, and buzzing drones.”

At the moment when the hand of the massive time-piece, representing Endymion asleep, pointed to nine on its golden face, and the hammer, the faithful type of mechanical thought, struck nine times, the name of the Count of Monte Cristo resounded in its turn, and as if by an electric shock all the assembly turned towards the door.”

Having accomplished these three social duties, Monte Cristo stopped, looking around him with that expression peculiar to a certain class, which seems to say, <I have done my duty, now let others do theirs.>”

all were eager to speak to him, as is always the case with those whose words are few and weighty.”

Mademoiselle Danglars’ charms were heightened in the opinion of the young men, and for the moment seemed to outvie the sun in splendor. As for the ladies, it is needless to say that while they coveted the millions, they thought they did not need them for themselves, as they were beautiful enough without them.”

But at the same instant the crowd of guests rushed in alarm into the principal salon as if some frightful monster had entered the apartments, quærens quem devoret [procurando quem devorar]. There was, indeed, reason to retreat, to be alarmed, and to scream. An officer was placing two soldiers at the door of each drawing-room, and was advancing towards Danglars, preceded by a commissary of police, girded with his scarf.”

What is the matter, sir?” asked Monte Cristo, advancing to meet the commissioner.

Which of you gentlemen,” asked the magistrate, without replying to the count, “answers to the name of Andrea Cavalcanti?” A cry of astonishment was heard from all parts of the room. They searched; they questioned. “But who then is Andrea Cavalcanti?” asked Danglars in amazement.

A galley-slave, escaped from confinement at Toulon.”

And what crime has he committed?”

He is accused,” said the commissary with his inflexible voice, “of having assassinated the man named Caderousse, his former companion in prison, at the moment he was making his escape from the house of the Count of Monte Cristo.” Monte Cristo cast a rapid glance around him. Andrea was gone.

Oh, do not confound the two, Eugénie.”

Hold your tongue! The men are all infamous, and I am happy to be able now to do more than detest them—I despise them.”

Oh, I am done with considering! I am tired of hearing only of market reports, of the end of the month, of the rise and fall of Spanish funds, of Haitian bonds. Instead of that, Louise—do you understand?—air, liberty, melody of birds, plains of Lombardy, Venetian canals, Roman palaces, the Bay of Naples. How much have we, Louise?”

that deep sleep which is sure to visit men of twenty years of age, even when they are torn with remorse.”

The honorable functionary had scarcely expressed himself thus, in that intonation which is peculiar to brigadiers of the gendarmerie, when a loud scream, accompanied by the violent ringing of a bell, resounded through the court of the hotel. <Ah, what is that?> cried the brigadier.

<Some traveller seems impatient,> said the host. <What number was it that rang?>

<Number 3.>”

Andrea had very cleverly managed to descend two-thirds of the chimney, but then his foot slipped, and notwithstanding his endeavors, he came into the room with more speed and noise than he intended. It would have signified little had the room been empty, but unfortunately it was occupied. Two ladies, sleeping in one bed, were awakened by the noise, and fixing their eyes upon the spot whence the sound proceeded, they saw a man. One of these ladies, the fair one, uttered those terrible shrieks which resounded through the house, while the other, rushing to the bell-rope, rang with all her strength. Andrea, as we can see, was surrounded by misfortune.

<For pity’s sake,> he cried, pale and bewildered, without seeing whom he was addressing,—<for pity’s sake do not call assistance! Save me!—I will not harm you.>

<Andrea, the murderer!> cried one of the ladies.

<Eugénie! Mademoiselle Danglars!> exclaimed Andrea, stupefied.”

The baroness had looked forward to this marriage as a means of ridding her of a guardianship which, over a girl of Eugénie’s character, could not fail to be rather a troublesome undertaking; for in the tacit relations which maintain the bond of family union, the mother, to maintain her ascendancy over her daughter, must never fail to be a model of wisdom and a type of perfection.”

Sir, I do not deny the justice of your correction, but the more severely you arm yourself against that unfortunate man, the more deeply will you strike our family. Come, forget him for a moment, and instead of pursuing him, let him go.”

Listen; this is his description: <Benedetto, condemned, at the age of 16, for 5 years to the galleys for forgery.> He promised well, as you see—first a runaway, then an assassin.”

And who is this wretch?”

Who can tell?—a vagabond, a Corsican.”

Has no one owned him?”

No one; his parents are unknown.”

But who was the man who brought him from Lucca?”

for heaven’s sake, do not ask pardon of me for a guilty wretch! What am I?—the law. Has the law any eyes to witness your grief? Has the law ears to be melted by your sweet voice? Has the law a memory for all those soft recollections you endeavor to recall?” “Has mankind treated me as a brother? Have men loved me? Have they spared me? Has anyone shown the mercy towards me that you now ask at my hands? No, madame, they struck me, always struck me!”

Alas, alas, alas; all the world is wicked; let us therefore strike at wickedness!”

While working night and day, I sometimes lose all recollection of the past, and then I experience the same sort of happiness I can imagine the dead feel; still, it is better than suffering.”

Valentine, the hand which now threatens you will pursue you everywhere; your servants will be seduced with gold, and death will be offered to you disguised in every shape. You will find it in the water you drink from the spring, in the fruit you pluck from the tree.”

But did you not say that my kind grandfather’s precaution had neutralized the poison?”

Yes, but not against a strong dose; the poison will be changed, and the quantity increased.” He took the glass and raised it to his lips. “It is already done,” he said; “brucine is no longer employed, but a simple narcotic! I can recognize the flavor of the alcohol in which it has been dissolved. If you had taken what Madame de Villefort has poured into your glass, Valentine—Valentine—you would have been doomed!”

But,” exclaimed the young girl, “why am I thus pursued?”

Why?—are you so kind—so good—so unsuspicious of ill, that you cannot understand, Valentine?”

No, I have never injured her.”

But you are rich, Valentine; you have 200.000 livres a year, and you prevent her son from enjoying these 200.000 livres.”

Edward? Poor child! Are all these crimes committed on his account?”

Ah, then you at length understand?”

And is it possible that this frightful combination of crimes has been invented by a woman?”

Valentine, would you rather denounce your stepmother?”

I would rather die a hundred times—oh, yes, die!”

She tried to replace the arm, but it moved with a frightful rigidity which could not deceive a sick-nurse.”

For some temperaments work is a remedy for all afflictions.”

and the Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré was filled with a crowd of idlers, equally pleased to witness the festivities or the mourning of the rich, and who rush with the same avidity to a funeral procession as to the marriage of a duchess.”

but the article is not mine; indeed, I doubt if it will please M. Villefort, for it says that if four successive deaths had happened anywhere else than in the house of the king’s attorney, he would have interested himself somewhat more about it.”

Do you know, count, that persons of our time of life—not that you belong to the class, you are still a young man,—but as I was saying, persons of our time of life have been very unfortunate this year. For example, look at the puritanical procureur, who has just lost his daughter, and in fact nearly all his family, in so singular a manner; Morcerf dishonored and dead; and then myself covered with ridicule through the villany of Benedetto; besides——”

Oh, how happy you must be in not having either wife or children!”

Do you think so?”

Indeed I do.”

Philosophers may well say, and practical men will always support the opinion, that money mitigates many trials; and if you admit the efficacy of this sovereign balm, you ought to be very easily consoled—you, the king of finance, the focus of immeasurable power.”

<So rich, dear sir, that your fortune resembles the pyramids; if you wished to demolish them you could not, and if it were possible, you would not dare!> Danglars smiled at the good-natured pleasantry of the count.”

It is a fine thing to have such credit; really, it is only in France these things are done. Five millions on five little scraps of paper!—it must be seen to be believed.”

If a thunderbolt had fallen at the banker’s feet, he could not have experienced greater terror.”

<I never joke with bankers,> said Monte Cristo in a freezing manner”

Ah, true, I was writing. I do sometimes, soldier though I am.”

Why do you mention my father?” stammered he; “why do you mingle a recollection of him with the affairs of today?”

Because I am he who saved your father’s life when he wished to destroy himself, as you do today—because I am the man who sent the purse to your young sister, and the Pharaon to old Morrel—because I am the Edmond Dantes who nursed you, a child, on my knees.” Morrel made another step back, staggering, breathless, crushed; then all his strength give way, and he fell prostrate at the feet of Monte Cristo. Then his admirable nature underwent a complete and sudden revulsion; he arose, rushed out of the room and to the stairs, exclaiming energetically, “Julie, Julie—Emmanuel, Emmanuel!”

<Live—the day will come when you will be happy, and will bless life!>—no matter whose voice had spoken, we should have heard him with the smile of doubt, or the anguish of incredulity,—and yet how many times has your father blessed life while embracing you—how often have I myself——”

Ah,” exclaimed Morrel, interrupting the count, “you had only lost your liberty, my father had only lost his fortune, but I have lost Valentine.”

in grief, as in life, there is always something to look forward to beyond (…) one day you will thank me for having preserved your life.”

Come—do you know of what the Count of Monte Cristo is capable? do you know that he holds terrestrial beings under his control?”

I do not know whether you remember that this is the 5th of September; it is 10 years today since I saved your father’s life, who wished to die.”

Asmodeus—that diabolical personage, who would have been created by every fertile imagination if Le Sage had not acquired the priority in his great masterpiece—would have enjoyed a singular spectacle, if he had lifted up the roof of the little house in the Rue Saint-Germain-des-Prés, while Debray was casting up his figures.”

Amongst the Catalans, Mercédès wished for a thousand things, but still she never really wanted any. So long as the nets were good, they caught fish; and so long as they sold their fish, they were able to buy twine for new nets.”

Now I think we are rich, since instead of the 114 francs we require for the journey we find ourselves in possession of 250.”

Silence,—be silent!” said Andrea, who knew the delicate sense of hearing possessed by the walls; “for heaven’s sake, do not speak so loud!”

But I have always observed that poisoners were cowards. Can you be a coward,—you who have had the courage to witness the death of two old men and a young girl murdered by you?”

What I require is, that justice be done. I am on the earth to punish, madame,” he added, with a flaming glance; “any other woman, were it the queen herself, I would send to the executioner; but to you I shall be merciful. To you I will say, <Have you not, madame, put aside some of the surest, deadliest, most speedy poison?>”

Oh, pardon me, sir; let me live!”

She is cowardly,” said Villefort.

and one of the softest and most brilliant days of September shone forth in all its splendor.”

Well, do you know why they die so multitudinously at M. de Villefort’s?”

<Multitudinously> is good,” said Château-Renaud.

My good fellow, you’ll find the word in Saint-Simon.”

But the thing itself is at M. de Villefort’s; but let’s get back to the subject.”

Talking of that,” said Debray, “Madame was making inquiries about that house, which for the last three months has been hung with black.”

Who is Madame?” asked Château-Renaud.

The minister’s wife, pardieu!

No, my dear fellow, it is not at all incredible. You saw the child pass through the Rue Richelieu last year, who amused himself with killing his brothers and sisters by sticking pins in their ears while they slept. The generation who follow us are very precocious.”

I am 21 years old, or rather I shall be in a few days, as I was born the night of the 27th of September, 1817.” M. de Villefort, who was busy taking down some notes, raised his head at the mention of this date.

<At Auteuil, near Paris.>” M. de Villefort a second time raised his head, looked at Benedetto as if he had been gazing at the head of Medusa, and became livid. As for Benedetto, he gracefully wiped his lips with a fine cambric pocket-handkerchief.”

This is, indeed, the reason why I begged you to alter the order of the questions.” The public astonishment had reached its height. There was no longer any deceit or bravado in the manner of the accused. The audience felt that a startling revelation was to follow this ominous prelude.

Well,” said the president; “your name?”

I cannot tell you my name, since I do not know it; but I know my father’s, and can tell it to you.”

A painful giddiness overwhelmed Villefort; great drops of acrid sweat fell from his face upon the papers which he held in his convulsed hand.

Repeat your father’s name,” said the president. Not a whisper, not a breath, was heard in that vast assembly; everyone waited anxiously.

My father is king’s attorney,’ replied Andrea calmly.

King’s attorney?” said the president, stupefied, and without noticing the agitation which spread over the face of M. de Villefort; ‘king’s attorney?”

Yes; and if you wish to know his name, I will tell it,—he is named Villefort.” The explosion, which had been so long restrained from a feeling of respect to the court of justice, now burst forth like thunder from the breasts of all present; the court itself did not seek to restrain the feelings of the audience. The exclamations, the insults addressed to Benedetto, who remained perfectly unconcerned, the energetic gestures, the movement of the gendarmes, the sneers of the scum of the crowd always sure to rise to the surface in case of any disturbance—all this lasted five minutes, before the door-keepers and magistrates were able to restore silence.

the procureur, who sat as motionless as though a thunderbolt had changed him into a corpse.”

I was born in No. 28, Rue de la Fontaine, in a room hung with red damask; my father took me in his arms, telling my mother I was dead, wrapped me in a napkin marked with an H and an N, and carried me into a garden, where he buried me alive.”

A shudder ran through the assembly when they saw that the confidence of the prisoner increased in proportion to the terror of M. de Villefort. “But how have you become acquainted with all these details?” asked the president.

The man carried me to the foundling asylum, where I was registered under the number 37. Three months afterwards, a woman travelled from Rogliano to Paris to fetch me, and having claimed me as her son, carried me away. Thus, you see, though born in Paris, I was brought up in Corsica.” “my perverse disposition prevailed over the virtues which my adopted mother endeavored to instil into my heart. I increased in wickedness till I committed crime.”

<Do not blaspheme, unhappy child, the crime is that of your father, not yours,—of your father, who consigned you to hell if you died, and to misery if a miracle preserved you alive.> After that I ceased to blaspheme, but I cursed my father. That is why I have uttered the words for which you blame me; that is why I have filled this whole assembly with horror. If I have committed an additional crime, punish me, but if you will allow that ever since the day of my birth my fate has been sad, bitter, and lamentable, then pity me.”

<My mother thought me dead; she is not guilty. I did not even wish to know her name, nor do I know it.>” Just then a piercing cry, ending in a sob, burst from the centre of the crowd, who encircled the lady who had before fainted, and who now fell into a violent fit of hysterics. She was carried out of the hall, the thick veil which concealed her face dropped off, and Madame Danglars was recognized.”

Well, then, look at M. de Villefort, and then ask me for proofs.”

Everyone turned towards the procureur, who, unable to bear the universal gaze now riveted on him alone, advanced staggering into the midst of the tribunal, with his hair dishevelled and his face indented with the mark of his nails. The whole assembly uttered a long murmur of astonishment.

Father,” said Benedetto, “I am asked for proofs, do you wish me to give them?”

No, no, it is useless,” stammered M. de Villefort in a hoarse voice; “no, it is useless!”

How useless?” cried the president, “what do you mean?”

I mean that I feel it impossible to struggle against this deadly weight which crushes me. Gentlemen, I know I am in the hands of an avenging God! We need no proofs; everything relating to this young man is true.”

A dull, gloomy silence, like that which precedes some awful phenomenon of nature, pervaded the assembly, who shuddered in dismay.

What, M. de Villefort,” cried the president, “do you yield to an hallucination? What, are you no longer in possession of your senses? This strange, unexpected, terrible accusation has disordered your reason. Come, recover.”

The procureur dropped his head; his teeth chattered like those of a man under a violent attack of fever, and yet he was deadly pale.

I am in possession of all my senses, sir,” he said; “my body alone suffers, as you may suppose. I acknowledge myself guilty of all the young man has brought against me, and from this hour hold myself under the authority of the procureur who will succeed me.”

And as he spoke these words with a hoarse, choking voice, he staggered towards the door, which was mechanically opened by a door-keeper.

Well,” said Beauchamp, “let them now say that drama is unnatural!”

Ma foi!” said Château-Renaud, “I would rather end my career like M. de Morcerf; a pistol-shot seems quite delightful compared with this catastrophe.”

And moreover, it kills,” said Beauchamp.