Sandra Gulland · 448 pages
Rating: (14K votes)
“I play out the cards. They say: This is Heaven, this is Hell. It is one.”
“He calls me Josephine. He says I'm an angel, a saint, his good lucky star. I know I'm no angel, but in truth I have begun to like this Josephine he sees. She is intelligent; she amuses; she is pleasing. She is grace and charm and heart. Unlike Rose; scared, haunted and needy. Unlike Rose with her sad life.”
“A feeling of disquiet continues to haunt me. As a youth one dreams of love; by the time one wakes, it is too late.”
“The Queen has been guillotined, accused of crimes beyond imagining. Last night she appeared to me in a dream, handing me her head.”
“You are thinking of the past." I put my arms around her. She'd risen from childbed too soon. "We are the past," she said.”
“Daggers ever at the ready, I went about the day: children fed, linens mended, bedclothes aired. In little ways one conquers fear.”
“I lowered myself into an armchair. I was enveloped in a cloud of dust. All that remained of my life was in my lap. I sat for a time thus, as still as the mute objects that surrounded me. How little it all meant, in the end.”
“I kissed his cheek. "My King." I swooped into the courtly curtsy he'd taught me as a girl, regally kicking an imaginary train aside as I turned to go. He was laughing silently as I left. For a moment I saw that spark again. I did not say goodbye.”
“Now I have discovered where it is that she goes. It's the guillotine that draws her, across the river in the Place Louis Quinze- Place de la Revolution now-where daily crowds gather, the vendors selling lemonade, the children playing prisoner's base, the old ladies gossiping as the heads fall.”
“One leads, willing or not," Deputy Tallien answered. "It takes courage to face one's own death but even more so the death of others. We are learning this lesson well." The Many Lives and Secret Sorrows of Josephine B. by Sandra Gullan”
“You might hide in some Freudian jungle most of your miserable life, baying at the moon and shouting curses at God, but at the end, right down there at the damned end when it counts... you would sure as anything clear up just enough to realize the moon you have spent so many years baying at is nothing but the light globe up there on the ceiling, and God is just something placed in your bureau drawer by the Gideon Society. Yes, I sighed again, in the long run insanity would be the same old coldhearted drag of too solid flesh, too many slings and arrows, and too much outrageous fortune.”
“... As for me, I taught the lad the real character of a rifle; and well has he paid me for it. I have fought at his side in many a bloody scrimmage; and so long as I could hear the crack of his piece in one ear, and that of the Sagamore in the other, I knew no enemy was on my back. Winters and summers, nights and days, have we roved the wilderness in company, eating of the same dish, one sleeping while the other watched; and afore it shall be said that Uncas was taken to the torment, and I at hand - There is but a single ruler of us all, whatever maybe the color of the skin, and him I call to witness - that before the Mohican boy shall perish for the want of a friend, good faith shall depart the 'arth and 'Kill-deer' become as harmless as the tooting we'pon of the singer!”
“I’m terrified to lose him for good, so I sell myself short and take what I can from him, even though I know I deserve better.”
“Different people remember things differently, and you'll not get any two people to remember anything the same, whether they were there or not.”
“At sunrise everything is luminous but not clear. It is those we live with and love and should know who elude us. You can love completely without complete understanding.”
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