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biblioteca ebook a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z tutte
The Dream, by Emile Zola

During the severe winter of 1860 the river Oise was frozen over and
the plains of Lower Picardy were covered with deep snow. On Christmas
Day, especially, a heavy squall from the north-east had almost buried
the little city of Beaumont. The snow, which began to fall early in
the morning, increased towards evening and accumulated during the
night; in the upper town, in the Rue des Orfevres, at the end of
which, as if enclosed therein, is the northern front of the cathedral
transept, this was blown with great force by the wind against the
portal of Saint Agnes, the old Romanesque portal, where traces of
Early Gothic could be seen, contrasting its florid ornamentation with
the bare simplicity of the transept gable.

The inhabitants still slept, wearied by the festive rejoicings of the
previous day. The town-clock struck six. In the darkness, which was
slightly lightened by the slow, persistent fall of flakes, a vague
living form alone was visible: that of a little girl, nine years of
age, who, having taken refuge under the archway of the portal, had
passed the night there, shivering, and sheltering herself as well as
possible. She wore a thin woollen dress, ragged from long use, her
head was covered with a torn silk handkerchief, and on her bare feet
were heavy shoes much too large for her. Without doubt she had only
gone there after having well wandered through the town, for she had
fallen down from sheer exhaustion. For her it was the end of the
world; there was no longer anything to interest her. It was the last
surrender; the hunger that gnaws, the cold which kills; and in her
weakness, stifled by the heavy weight at her heart, she ceased to
struggle, and nothing was left to her but the instinctive movement of
preservation, the desire of changing place, of sinking still deeper
into these old stones, whenever a sudden gust made the snow whirl
about her...
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# Pubblicato da romanzieri in multilingua ~ 06.11.04 23:26 permalink