Marius by Michel CHAPOUTIER

Short tales

1894, Solitude

« Marie placed her hand on Marius’ knee. She was excited to think that the curtains would soon lift. Now playing: Molière, the Malade Imaginaire.
The audience was populated by beautiful people. Three piece suits, high heels, walking sticks, top hats and a few medals and decorations as well. All the important folk from the city of Lyon were in attendance. They were everywhere – just too many to take in! People ignored each other, or smiled widely, sincerely or not. Some had even faced each other in a dual without consequence or rancor. The chitchat created a humming sound that pervaded the theatre. A buzzing of socialites, punctuated by loud guffaws that one could hear from twenty metres away, dainty quotes and considerable shows of astonishment for no particular reason. The ladies often put their hands over their mouth; the men, on the contrary, put their hands behind their back, greeting each other with nods. Marie recognized a few of the faces and tried to listen in on some of the conversations. On the port side, people were discussing Russian Symbolists, Offenbach - stupendous! and Zola’s latest novel, Lourdes. On the starboard side, people were going on about Maxime Ducamp’s death, the Panama Canal and the anarchists’ attacks.
Marie was Marius’ mother... »

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