Émile Zola-The Fortune of the Rougons (1)

Let yourself soak up this wonderful piece of reading…


Painting: Liberty Leading the People by Eugène Delacroix

Give it to me, I’ll carry it.”

The workmen understood the sublime ingenuousness of this form of gratitude.

“Yes,” they all shouted, “Chantegreil will carry the banner.”

A woodcutter remarked that she would soon get tired, and would not be able to go far.

“Oh! I’m quite strong,” she retorted proudly, rolling up her sleeves and showing a pair of arms as big as those of a grown woman.

Then, as they were about to hand her the banner, she said:

“Wait a minute.”

She quickly pulled off her cloak, and put it on again after turning it inside-out to show the red lining. In the clear moonlight it looked as if she was wearing a big scarlet coat reaching down to her feet. The hood, resting on the edge of her chignon, formed a kind of Phrygian cap. She took the staff and pressed it to her chest, and stood very straight inside the folds of the blood-coloured banner, which fluttered behind her. Her face, with her curly hair, her big eyes moist  with tears, and her lips parted in a smile, looked quite radiant as she gazed proudly at the sky. At that moment she became the virgin Liberty.

The Fortune of the Rougons

by Émile Zola



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