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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 60 pages of information about Mademoiselle Fifi.
his first novel “Une Vie”, twenty-five thousand copies of which were sold in less than a year.  Glory and Fortune smiled on him.  In his novels, he concentrated all his observations scattered in his short stories.  His second novel “Bel Ami”, which came out in 1885, had thirty-seven editions in four months.  His editor, Havard, commissioned him to write new masterpieces and, without the slightest effort, his pen produced new masterpieces of style, description, conception and penetration[*].  With a natural aversion for Society, he loved retirement, solitude and meditation.  He traveled extensively in Algeria, Italy, England, Britany, Sicily, Auvergne, and from each voyage he brought back a new volume.  He cruised on his private yacht “Bel Ami”, named after one of his earlier masterpieces.  This feverish life did not prevent him from making friends among the literary celebrities of his day:  Dumas fils had a paternal affection for him; at Aix-les-Bains he met Taine and fell under the spell of the philosopher-historian.  Flaubert continued to act as his literary Godfather.  His friendship with the Goucourts was of short duration; his frank and practical nature reacted against the ambiance of gossip, scandal, duplicity and invidious criticism that the two brothers had created around them in the guise of an Eighteenth Century style salon.  He hated the human comedy, the social farce.

In his latter years he developed an exaggerated love for solitude, a predilection for self-preservation and still worse, a constant fear of death and mania of persecution, which ran like a black thread through all his writings and brought on gradually the final tragic catastrophe.—­He became insane in 1891 and died in 1893 without having recovered his mind.

Life, movement, penetrating[*] observation, and hypersensitiveness, both artistic and physical, are the dominant traits of this literary phenomenon.  His rise to fame was as vertiginous as his fall and decay.  As a novelist he may have his equals and superiors, but as a short story-writer, with the exception of Charles Nodier and Alphonse Daudet, he had none.—­

The Happy Hour Library

[*][Note from Brett:  The original uses “penertation” and “penertating” but I could not find this word anywhere so assumed it was a typographical error.]

Mademoiselle Fifi

The Prussian Commander, Major Graf von Farlsberg, was finishing the reading of his mail, comfortably seated in a large tapestry armchair, with his booted feet resting on the elegant marble of the mantelpiece on which, for the last three months that he had been occupying the Chateau d’Uville, his spurs had traced two deep grooves, growing deeper every day.

A cup of coffee was steaming on an inlaid guerdon, stained with liqueur, burned by cigars, notched by the penknife of the conquering officer who, while sharpening his pencil, would stop at times and trace on the marble monograms or designs according to the fancy of his indolent dream.

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