By Hedwige Jeanmart

«Et si on allait à Blanès ? C'était mon idée. Je l'avais lancée le samedi 10 mars vers onze heures du matin, après mes deux cafés, consciente de ce que je disais et aussi du fait que je le disais pour lui faire plaisir, sans soupçonner une seconde que cette word innocente serait celle qui me ferait chuter tout au fond du gouffre où je suis. Pourtant des words, j'en ai dit.

J'ai trop dit je t'aime alors que je savais que cela le fatiguait, j'ai dit des choses intelligentes aussi, puis des conneries comme tout le monde. Mais je n'aurai pas survécu à cette phrase-là. Samuel a répondu pourquoi pas ? Ça te dirait ?

J'ai dit oui ça me dirait, on n'est jamais allés à Blanès, ce n'est pas si loin, une heure en voiture depuis Barcelone, à peine plus. On s'est mis d'accord, on irait le lendemain. Le soir, on s'est couchés en chien de fusil dans des draps blancs comme un linceul, j'ai respiré son odeur du soir, un peu âcre, et senti los angeles chaleur de sa cuisse sur laquelle j'avais posé l. a. major. Je me suis endormie heureuse sûrement, sans doute, pourquoi pas ? Je ne savais plus bien à présent, et le matin du dimanche eleven mars, en fin de matinée, nous avons pris chacun un livre et nous sommes partis pour Blanès.»

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He meets and falls in love with an unattainable lady, Veronica, who is held by the 'enchanter/wicked magician/ogre', Roderick. Charles is at first defeated in his struggle against Roderick, and even suffers physical injury. While recovering from his wounds, he has a brief romance with a working-class girl, whom he abandons (hints of the fair maid of Avalon administering to the wounded Lancelot). Something to love: heroines and their heroes 37 Finally he triumphs and wins Veronica because he has acquired 'magic' power- money.

The notion that women like this were never on view except as the property of men like Bertrand was so familiar to him that it had long since ceased to appear an injustice. The huge class that contained Margaret was destined to provide his own womenfolk; those in whom the intention of being attractive could sometimes be made to get itself confused with performance; those with whom a too-tight skirt, a wrong-coloured, or no, lipstick, even an ill-executed smile could instantly discredit that illusion beyond apparent hope of renewal.

It is the realisation of her full potential, and her tragedy is that it can be the source of her downfall. But this does not mean that it is not an ecstatically transforming experience. The writers may be critical of men as lovers, but the emotion of love itself is treated as one of the highlights in a woman's life. The first quickening of sensual love, the power that sexual attractiveness confers, and the heightened sensitivity that accompanies falling in Jove, are such heady attractions that few women who have experienced them once can resist the temptation of trying again.

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