Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
mêle'). Visual aspects are limited to suggestions of colour and light,
along with spatial relations ('s'enfoncent'), but emotional effects abound,
underscored by repetitions of nouns in series ('de gazons, de parterres
et de bosquets') and personification ('aimable,' 'gazouille,' 'folâtre,'
'discrets'), which create an overall impression of vivacity, shelter, and
Paradise ('paradis'), all themes that will be carried forth in recurring
descriptions of the garden.
Though less visual (since the viewer is in love!), Maurice's initial de-
scription of the garden parallels Mina's: 'Tu sais peut-être qu'un ruis-
seau coule dans le jardin, très vaste et très beau. M. de Montbrun en a
profité pour se donner le luxe d'un petit étang qui est bien ce qu'on
peut voir de plus joli … et le cygne pense de même car il affectionne cet
endroit … Il se mirait dans l'eau, y plongeait son beau cou, et longeait
fièrement les bords fleuris de ce lac en miniature où se reflétait le soleil
couchant.' (31-2; You know perhaps that a stream runs through the gar-
den, very vast and very beautiful. M de Montbrun took advantage of it
to afford the luxury of a pond, which is really the most attractive one
could see … and the swan must think likewise since he is attached to
this spot … He would gaze at his reflection, plunge his beautiful neck
in the water, and proudly follow the flowered shores of this miniature
lake that mirrored the setting sun.) Here the pond is seen as a central
point in the garden, concentrating and mirroring both the vast nature
around it ('le soleil couchant') and the swan that floats on its surface ('il
se mirait dans l'eau'). From the beginning of the novel, the garden is a
self-contained, self-sufficient world, one of identity between the object
('le cygne') and its reflected image, one of transparent meaning, easy to
'déchiffrer,' as suggested perhaps in the play of words between le cygne
(swan) and its homonym le signe (the sign). 15
This very episode in the garden leads Maurice to declare his love
(and thus matrimonial intent) to Angéline, whom he has seen from the
outset in gardening terms as a 'flower,' just as he describes the garden
as a 'paradise.' Similarly, Angéline sees Valriant, the house and the gar-
den together as a place of shelter and thus happiness - 'Jamais vous
n'avez vu ma chaumière jolie comme cet été. C'est un nid de verdure.
On la dirait faite exprès pour abriter le bonheur.' (113; Never have you
seen my cottage as beautiful as this summer. It's a nest of greenery. One
might say it's made purposely to harbour happiness.)
But the seasons change, along with the garden, and as Maurice pre-
pares to leave for France to pursue his studies, Angéline observes an
omen: 'Les gelées ont déjà bien ravagé le jardin. Cette belle verdure que
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