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Day 31

Villette by Charlotte Brontë

Chapters XLI-XLI

December 15, 2022 by Yiyun Li

The penultimate chapter is where a fairytale ends. It is a fairytale in itself. And yet, and yet, a novel like Villette cannot end with a fairytale.

This is my second reading of Villette. (I first read it ten years ago.) And I was shocked to discover that in my memory, this line was the final line of the novel, and the final devastation. It is not!

Reader, they were the three happiest years of my life.

    A most defiant happily-ever-after! (Brontë was pressed by her father for a happier ending than M. Paul’s drowning.)

    Madame Beck prospered all the days of her life; so did Père Silas; Madame Walravens fulfilled her ninetieth year before she died. Farewell.

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