Nana is Dead!
They went briskly out, casting a last glance at the
bed as they passed it. But whilst Lucy, Blanche, and Caroline still
remained behind, Rose gave a final look round, for she wanted to
leave the room in order. She drew a curtain across the window, and
then it occurred to her that the lamp was not the proper thing, and
that a taper should take its place. .So she lit one of the copper
candelabra on the chimney-piece and placed it on the night-table
beside the corpse. A brilliant light suddenly illuminated the dead
womans face. The women were horror struck. They shuttered and
"Ah, shes changed, shes changed!" murmured Rose
Mignon, who was the last to remain.
She went away; she shut the door. Nana was left
alone, with upturned face in the light cast of the candle. She was
fruit of the charnel-house, a heap of matter and blood, a shovelful
of corrupted flesh thrown down on the pillow. The pustules had
invaded the whole of her face, so that each touched it neighbour.
Fading and sunken, they had assumed the grayish hue of mud, and on
that formless pulp, where the features had ceased to be traceable,
they already resembled some decaying damp from the grave. One eye,
the left eye, had completely foundered among bubbling purulence, and
the other, which remained half open, looked like a deep black
ruinous hole. The nose was still suppurating. Quite a reddish crush
was peeling from one of the cheeks, and invading the mouth, which
was distorted into a horrible grin. And over this loathsome and
grotesque mask of death, the hair, the beautiful hair, still blazed
like sunlight and flowed downwards in rippling gold. Venus was
rotting. It seemed as though the poison she had assimilated in the
gutters, and on the carrion tolerated by the roadside, the leaven
with which she had poisoned a whole people, had but now remounted to
her face and turned it to corruption.
The room was empty. A great despairing came up from
the boulevard, and swelled the curtain.
" A Berlin! A Berlin! A Berlin!