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Day 17

Villette by Charlotte Brontë

Chapter XXIV

December 1, 2022 by Yiyun Li

Lucy speaks of herself in third person, in the generic form of a hermit, of his inward winter. “Poor wretch!” Oh poor Lucy. In that aspect I beat you. I do speak to myself in second person: “You, you idiot!”

Polly’s mother was Miss Fanshawe’s namesake! That poor woman died from catching a cold after a ball. Dr. John was not wrong a few chapters ago, when he fussed about Ginevra in case she caught a cold after a dance.

One of the memorable sentences from the novel, which echoes in one of my most favorite of Elizabeth Bowen’s lines: “The innocent are so few that two of them seldom meet—when they do meet, their victims lie strewn all round.”

There are certain things in which we so rarely meet with our double that it seems a miracle when that chance befalls.

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