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Villette (English Edition)
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Villette (English Edition) [Format Kindle]

Charlotte Brontë
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My godmother lived in a handsome house in the clean and ancient town of Bretton. Her husband's family had been residents there for generations, and bore, indeed, the name of their birthplace—Bretton of Bretton: whether by coincidence, or because some remote ancestor had been a personage of sufficient importance to leave his name to his neighbourhood, I know not.

When I was a girl I went to Bretton about twice a year, and well I liked the visit. The house and its inmates specially suited me. The large peaceful rooms, the well-arranged furniture, the clear wide windows, the balcony outside, looking down on a fine antique street, where Sundays and holidays seemed always to abide—so quiet was its atmosphere, so clean its pavement—these things pleased me well.

One child in a household of grown people is usually made very much of, and in a quiet way I was a good deal taken notice of by Mrs. Bretton, who had been left a widow, with one son, before I knew her; her husband, a physician, having died while she was yet a young and handsome woman.

She was not young, as I remember her, but she was still handsome, tall, well-made, and though dark for an English-woman, yet wearing always the clearness of health in her brunette cheek, and its vivacity in a pair of fine, cheerful black eyes. People esteemed it a grievous pity that she had not conferred her complexion on her son, whose eyes were blue—though, even in boyhood, very piercing—and the colour of his long hair such as friends did not venture to specify, except as the sun shone on it, when they called it golden. He inherited the lines of his mother's features, however; also her good teeth, her stature (or the promise of her stature, for he was not yet full-grown), and, what was better, her health without flaw, and her spirits of that tone and equality which are better than a fortune to the possessor.

In the autumn of the year——I was staying at Bretton, my godmother having come in person to claim me of the kinsfolk with whom was at that time fixed my permanent residence. I believe she then plainly saw events coming, whose very shadow I scarce guessed; yet of which the faint suspicion sufficed to impart unsettled sadness, and made me glad to change scene and society.

Time always flowed smoothly for me at my godmother's side; not with tumultuous swiftness, but blandly, like the gliding of a full river through a plain. My visits to her resembled the sojourn of Christian and Hopeful beside a certain pleasant stream, with "green trees on each bank, and meadows beautified with lilies all the year round." The charm of variety there was not, nor the excitement of incident; but I liked peace so well, and sought stimulus so little, that when the latter came I almost felt it a disturbance, and wished rather it had still held aloof.

One day a letter was received of which the contents evidently caused Mrs. Bretton surprise and some concern. I thought at first it was from home, and trembled, expecting I know not what disastrous communication: to me, however, no reference was made, and the cloud seemed to pass.

The next day, on my return from a long walk, I found, as I entered my bedroom, an unexpected change. In addition to my own French bed in its shady recess, appeared in a corner a small crib, draped with white; and in addition to my mahogany chest of drawers, I saw a tiny rosewood chest. I stood still, gazed, and considered.

"Of what are these things the signs and tokens?" I asked. The answer was obvious. "A second guest is coming; Mrs. Bretton expects other visitors."

On descending to dinner, explanations ensued. A little girl, I was told, would shortly be my companion: the daughter of a friend and distant relation of the late Dr. Bretton's. This little girl, it was added, had recently lost her mother; though, indeed, Mrs. Bretton ere long subjoined, the loss was not so great as might at first appear. Mrs. Home (Home it seems was the name) had been a very pretty, but a giddy, careless woman, who had neglected her child, and disappointed and disheartened her husband. So far from congenial had the union proved, that separation at last ensued—separation by mutual consent, not after any legal process. Soon after this event, the lady having over-exerted herself at a ball, caught cold, took a fever, and died after a very brief illness. Her husband, naturally a man of very sensitive feelings, and shocked inexpressibly by too sudden communication of the news, could hardly, it seems, now be persuaded but that some over-severity on his part—some deficiency in patience and indulgence—had contributed to hasten her end. He had brooded over this idea till his spirits were seriously affected; the medical men insisted on travelling being tried as a remedy, and meanwhile Mrs. Bretton had offered to take charge of his little girl. "And I hope," added my godmother in conclusion, "the child will not be like her mamma; as silly and frivolous a little flirt as ever sensible man was weak enough to marry. For," said she, "Mr. Home is a sensible man in his way, though not very practical: he is fond of science, and lives half his life in a laboratory trying experiments—a thing his butterfly wife could neither comprehend nor endure; and indeed," confessed my godmother, "I should not have liked it myself."

In answer to a question of mine, she further informed me that her late husband used to say, Mr. Home had derived this scientific turn from a maternal uncle, a French savant: for he came, it seems, of mixed French and Scottish origin, and had connections now living in France, of whom more than one wrote de before his name, and called himself noble.

That same evening at nine o'clock, a servant was despatched to meet the coach by which our little visitor was expected. Mrs. Bretton and I sat alone in the drawing-room waiting her coming; John Graham Bretton being absent on a visit to one of his schoolfellows who lived in the country. My godmother read the evening paper while she waited; I sewed. It was a wet night; the rain lashed the panes, and the wind sounded angry and restless.

"Poor child!" said Mrs. Bretton from time to time. "What weather for her journey! I wish she were safe here."

A little before ten the door-bell announced Warren's return. No sooner was the door opened than I ran down into the hall; there lay a trunk and some bandboxes, beside them stood a person like a nurse girl, and at the foot of the staircase was Warren with a shawled bundle in his arms.

"Is that the child?" I asked.

"Yes, miss."

I would have opened the shawl, and tried to get a peep at the face, but it was hastily turned from me to Warren's shoulder.

"Put me down, please," said a small voice when Warren opened the drawing-room door, "and take off this shawl," continued the speaker, extracting with its minute hand the pin, and with a sort of fastidious haste doffing the clumsy wrapping. The creature which now appeared made a deft attempt to fold the shawl; but the drapery was much too heavy and large to be sustained or wielded by those hands and arms. "Give it to Harriet, please," was then the direction, "and she can put it away." This said, it turned and fixed its eyes on Mrs. Bretton.

From the Paperback edition.

From AudioFile

Nadia May presents Lucy Stone, the sensitive, yet indomitable, young English woman who ventures off to France without means or family support. Whether crisply teaching English at Madame Beck's school for girls in Villette or lonely and despairing in a foreign culture, May convincingly portrays the many moods and complex character of Charlotte Bront''s heroine. Also, May seamlessly shifts accents and tone, distinguishing the rest of the characters that crowd this Gothic novel--old and young, English and French, male and female. Her many voices, with subtle timing, sweep us at a quick clip through a narrative of psychological insight and vividly rendered places, people and landscapes. J.H.L. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

Détails sur le produit

  • Format : Format Kindle
  • Taille du fichier : 796 KB
  • Nombre de pages de l'édition imprimée : 440 pages
  • Pagination - ISBN de l'édition imprimée de référence : 1619492423
  • Utilisation simultanée de l'appareil : Illimité
  • Vendu par : Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ASIN: B008494WR6
  • Synthèse vocale : Activée
  • X-Ray :
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
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Commentaires client les plus utiles
5.0 étoiles sur 5 unexpected joy 17 mai 2014
Par cherami
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I am not a natural Bronte fan but this story is so touching and so beautifully, if unusually, written that I was captivated from the start. Nothing Gothic about it, a simple tale of a simple and plain girl so well told that one's heart goes out to her.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Born to suffer 9 novembre 2013
Par Anna - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
====== SPOILERS ALERT ========

I read this because I enjoyed Jane Eyre and wanted a similar thing, but different. Villette didn't disappoint. While some plot patterns and character themes are similar to those used in Jane Eyre, Villette is a completely different thing. I had a blast!

Charlotte has full mastery of the language. No wonder her works are listed among the classics. She has no trouble expressing herself, and offers many insights into the human trials which are still relevant today. But what makes Villette truly fascinating is the protagonist, Lucy Snowe.

This is a romance story like no other. Lucy tries for human intimacy twice, loses both times. The odds are against her; her fate is written from the start. The ending isn't really ambiguous. The narrator states quite clearly what happened, then tells those who can't handle it to imagine their own happy ending, if they're so inclined.

When Dr. John was first introduced, I recognized him as a romantic interest and was pleasantly surprised that he was handsome. This is a step up, I thought, from Jane Eyre, where the narrator thought that handsome men are just too divine for her. Her self-esteem must be improving.

What can I say? At that point, I didn't yet realize that Lucy was born to suffer.

She resents that Graham can't see past her plain features to appreciate the treasure of her true inner self. But how could he appreciate what was denied him? She hid her true feelings from him, from the world, and from the readers. The narrator conceals facts - vital facts. Whenever she feels strongly, she becomes mute.

The story sometimes dragged and often got depressing, but it was all worth it for the ending. The narrator briefly outlines what happened to the main cast of the story - to her adversaries. They lived a long, prosperous life. She says not a word about Lucy, and that silence is loud and funeral. Lucy, who did her best to challenge fate, and this time the defeat was absolute. Once again, she becomes silent, this time to never speak again. Mutely she draws a black curtain over the ending.

Because, the writer wants us to know, some people are destined for happiness. And some people are just born to suffer. Better luck next life, Lucy Snowe.
2 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Cranky characters 5 avril 2013
Par Mary Raber - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
_Villette_ isn't the show stopper that _Jane Eyre_ is, but I like it very much because of the eccentricity of the characters. The novel is very much like life in that all the characters are downright peculiar and the end of the story is unresolved, very much as in real life. The love story of Lucy Snow and Paul Emmanuel is all the more memorable for its lack of convention. I enjoy the way Monsieur Paul "grows on" the reader, much as he gradually becomes more attractive to Lucy. Alert readers will appreciate the whiff of cigar smoke that signals his presence, very much as Mr. Rochester's cigar worked on Jane!
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Amazing! 14 janvier 2014
Par Carpe Librum - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle
I love Lucy Snowe! From the moment I read, "I seemed to hold two lives - the life of thought, and that of reality; and, provided the former was nourished with a sufficiency of the strange necromantic joys of fancy, the privileges of the latter might remain limited to daily bread, hourly work, and a roof of shelter," I knew that she and I were two of one mold.

Lucy is seen as a different person by each of the characters around her, yet not one of their visions matches her picture of herself. The love, devotion, and true friendship that Lucy yearns for dangles teasingly just outside her reach, and she is compelled to escape her real world through books and teaching responsibilities. I could feel her inner turmoil as she observes events never truly feeling she is a participant, or if she is a participant she must be one whom no one would miss were she not there.

Charlotte Bronte describes Lucy's feelings with such vivid detail that I was sure I must be experiencing them myself. I thought I would look up from my page and see Graham across the room and hope for him to glance my way, though I knew his look would not return the love I was searching for. The emotions are so clear that I felt I was really reading a diary and wondered how much of what was written was Bronte's own feelings and not just literary creation. Who could write such without having it in their heart? I wanted to start reading this book again within moments of finishing it to catch whatever I may have missed during my first obsessive read.

Upon finishing it, I threw it down and said, "This is no Jane Austen! Where is my happy ending?!" This only enhances the quality of this novel, though there is nothing story-book or fairy-tale about it. It is not another Jane Eyre (one of my favorite books). The characters are more complex, more real, more . . . depressing.

Quick note on edition: make sure you read one with footnotes as there are many untranslated French phrases - I would have been lost without my well-annotated version.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Great! 30 septembre 2013
Par Amazon Customer - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I love Jane Eyre, but I have never read anything else from Charlotte Bronte. This book did not disappoint, by the end of it I was emotionally drained.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great story telling 24 mars 2013
Par Author, Jennifer Robins - Publié sur
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
So often these days her style of writing is rejected, but I like it because of the detailed discriptions that help move the story along.,
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