Fahnestock, page 709 and 710
On one of the last days of the second week, Marius was as usual sitting on his bench, holding in his hand an open book of which he had not turned a page for two hours. Suddenly he trembled. A great event was beginning at the far end of the path. M. Leblanc and his daughter had left their bench, the daughter had taken the father’s arm, and they were coming slowly toward the middle of the walk where Marius was. Marius closed his book, then he opened it, then he made an attempt to read. He trembled. The halo was coming straight toward him. “O dear!” he thought, “I’ll never have time to make myself look natural.” Meanwhile, the man with the white hair and the young girl were advancing. It seemed to take all of a century and only a second. “What are they coming by here for?” he asked himself. “Is she going to go right by here? Are her feet going to walk across the gravel in this path, two steps away from me?” He was overwhelmed, he would have liked to have been very handsome, he would like to have worn the cross of the Legion of Honor. He heard the gentle measured sound of their steps approaching. He imagined that M. Leblanc was hurling angry looks at him. “Is he going to speak to me?” he wondered. He bowed his head; when he raised it they were quite near. The young girl went by, and in passing she looked at him. She looked at him steadily, with a sweet and thoughtful look that made Marius tremble from head to foot. It seemed to him that she was reproaching him for having taken so long without coming to her, and that she was saying, “I am the one coming to you.” Marius was bewildered by the eyes full of flashing light and fathomless abysses.
He felt as though his brain were on fire. She had come to him, what joy! And then, how she had looked at him! She seemed more beautiful than ever before. Beautiful with a beauty that combined all of the woman with all of the angel, a beauty that would have made Petrarch sing and Dante kneel. He felt as though he were swimming in the deep blue sky. At the same time he was horribly disconcerted, because there was dust on his boots.
He felt sure she had seen his boots in this condition.
Rose, page 585
On one of the last days of the second week, Marius was sitting as usual on his seat holding an open book, which he had not turned a page of for two hours. Suddenly he gave a start. An event was in train at the end of the walk. Monsieur Leblanc and his daughter had just left their bench, the daughter had taken her father’s arm, and they were making their way together, slowly, to the middle of the walk where Marius was. Marius closed his book, then opened it again and forced himself to read. He was trembling. The glory was heading straight for him. “Oh, my God!” he thought. “I’ll never have time to strike a pose.”
But the man with white hair and the young girl were coming closer. It seemed to him to be taking either a century or only a second. “What are they coming this way for?” he wondered. “Help! She’s going to walk past! Her feet are going to walk on this sand, along this path, two feet away!”
He was overcome. He would have liked to be stunningly handsome, he would have liked to be wearing the cross of the Legion d’Honneur. He heard the soft measured tread of their footfalls as they approached. He imagined that Monsieur Leblanc was throwing him angry looks.
“Is this monsieur going to speak to me?” he wondered. He bowed his head; when he raised it again, they were almost upon him. The young girl when past and as she passed she looked at him. She looked straight at him, with a thoughtful sweetness that made Marius shiver from head to toe. It seemed to him that she reproached him for sitting there so long without coming to her and that she was saying: “I’ll come to you if you won’t come to me.”
Marius remained dazzled by the play of light and shadow in those eyes. He felt as though his brain was on fire. She had come to him, what ecstasy! And then, the way she had looked at him! She seemed to him more beautiful than he had ever seen her. Beautiful with a beauty that would have made Petrarch sing and brought Dante to his knees. He felt as if he were swimming in the wide blue sky. At the same time, he was horribly thrown because he had a speck of dust on his boots.
He felt sure that she had also looked at his boots.
Which translation do you guys think was more effective? Please let me know in the comments! I’m very interested in hearing your opinion.
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