Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sundays with Stendhal 3

Julien was now a dandy and understood the art of life in Paris. He greeted Mademoiselle de La Mole with perfect coolness. He appeared to remember nothing of the time when she asked him so gaily to tell her all about his way of falling gracefully from his horse.

Mademoiselle de La Mole found him taller and paler. There was no longer anything provincial about his figure or his attire; not so with his conversation: this was still perceptibly too serious, too positive. In spite of these sober qualities, and thanks to his pride, it conveyed no sense of inferiority; one felt merely that he still regarded too many things as important. But one saw that he was a man who would stand by his word.

"He is wanting in lightness of touch, but not in intelligence," Mademoiselle de La Mole said to her father, as she teased him over the Cross he had given Julien. "My brother has been asking you for it for the last eighteen months, and he is a La Mole!"

"Yes; but Julien has novelty. That has never been the case with the La Mole you mention."


(The Red and the Black, chapter 38, "What is the decoration that confers distinction?")