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We may think ourselves familiar in this day and age with the notion that whores of every description can very easily achieve fame and fortune. But towards the end of the 19th century, there what came to be known in France as the "Belle Epoque", a select group of courtesans, who became for a short period, the most celebrated and powerful women in the long history of prostitution.
He was unable to suppress a sense that he had been able to escape from something. That he was a free man again. A feeling he eventually came to realize was entirely misguided. It was many years before he understood that both of them had been quite unjustly punished. L?a for being born so many years before him, and Ch?ri for having failed to grasp that L?a was the only woman he would ever be able to love. And once he was settled in his mind that this was the case, he took out his old service revolver, and put a bullet in his brain.
Lea de Lonval:
You came back here and you found an old woman. Yes, you found an old woman. Don't cry. Why are you crying? I'm so grateful to you. Were you really in love with me? Did you really think I was such a good person? If I had been a truly good person, I'd have made a man of you instead of thinking of nothing but your pleasure and my happiness. I wouldn't have kept you all to myself. Look at me. You're right. The qualities you lack, I expect it is my fault. But 30 years of easy living does make you very vulnerable. So no, I never did talk to you about the future. Forgive me. I loved you as if we were going to die the same day. I carried you in my heart for such a long time. I forgot you were going to have to carry your own burdens. A young wife. Perhaps even a child. And so you're going to suffer. You're going to miss me. And you're going to have to try to find enough wisdom and tolerance not to cause suffering to others. The thing is, now you've had a taste of youth. It's never satisfying, but you'll always want to go back for more. You must go. I love you. But it's too late. So get dressed. And go away now.