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Trilby: A Novel
by George Du Maurier
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1894. With illustrations by the author. Artist and writer, Trilby is his best remembered work. The novel begins: It was a fine, sunny, showery day in April. The big studio window was open at the top, and let in a pleasant breeze from the northwest. Things were beginning to look shipshape at last. The big piano, a semi-grand by Broadwood, had arrived from England by the Little Quickness (la Petite Vitesse, as the good trains are called in France), and lay, freshly tuned, alongside the eastern wall; on the wall opposite was a panoply of foils, masks, and boxing gloves.
Mon ami, an apple is an excellent thing -- until you have tried a peach! Her voice to that of Alboni is as a peach to an apple--I give you my word of honour! but bah! the voice is a detail. It's what she does with it--it's incredible! it gives one cold all down the back! it drives you mad! it makes you weep hot tears by the spoonful! Ah! the tear, mon fy! tenez! I can draw everything but that! Ca n'est pas dans mes cordes! I can only madden with love! But La Svengali! . . . And then, in the middle of it all, prrrout! . . . she makes you laugh! Ah! le beau rire! faire rire avec des larmes plein les yeux--voila qui me passe! .. . Mon ami, when I heard her it made me swear that even I would never try to sing any more.
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