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    Tender is the Night

    Автор книги F. Scott Fitzgerald

    Время прослушивания 03:36, Дата публикации

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    On the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, about half way between Marseilles and the Italian border, stands a large, proud, rose-colored hotel. Palms cool its flushed facade, and before it stretches a short dazzling beach. Lately it has become a summer resort of notable and fashionable people; a decade ago it was almost deserted after its English clientele went north in April. Now, many bungalows are near it, but when this story begins only a dozen old villas rotted like water lilies among the pines between Gausse's Hotel des Etrangers and Cannes, five miles away. A mile from the sea is an isolated railroad stop, where one June morning in 1925 a woman and her daughter arrived and went down to Gausse's Hotel. The mother's face was of a fading prettiness. However, one's eye moved on quickly to her daughter, who had magic in her pink cheeks lit to a lovely flame. Her fine forehead sloped gently up to where her hair burst into waves of ash blonde and gold. Her eyes were bright, big, clear, wet, and shining. Her body was on the last edge of childhood - she was almost eighteen but the dew was still on her. The mother said: "Something tells me we're not going to like this place." "I want to go home anyhow," the girl answered. "We'll stay three days and then go home. I'll wire right away for steamer tickets." At the hotel the girl made the reservation in idiomatic French, like something remembered. When they got their room on the ground floor she walked through the French windows and out a few steps onto the stone veranda that ran around the hotel. When she walked she carried herself like a ballet dancer. Fifty yards away the Mediterranean yielded up its pigments, moment by moment, to the brutal sunshine. Of all the region only the beach stirred with activity. Three British nannies sat knitting. Closer to the sea a dozen persons were sitting under striped umbrellas, while their dozen children pursued fish in water or lay naked in the sun. Rosemary came onto the beach, took off her bathrobe and dashed into the sea. She floated face down for a few yards and finding it shallow walked forward. When it was about breast high, she looked back toward shore: a bald man with a hairy chest in a monocle and a pair of tights was looking at her attentively. As Rosemary saw it, the man poured himself a glass of something from a bottle in his hand. Rosemary laid her face on the water and swam to the raft. Reaching it she was out of breath, but a tanned woman with very white teeth looked down at her, and Rosemary, suddenly realizing the whiteness of her own body, turned on her back and swam toward shore. The hairy man holding the bottle spoke to her as she came out with a slow Oxford drawl. "You're a fine swimmer."