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Manon Lescaut - the Abbe Prevost

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MANON LESCAUT I


Why did he love her?  Curious fool, be still!
Is human love the fruit of human will?

BYRON.

Just about six months before my departure for Spain, I first met
the Chevalier des Grieux.  Though I rarely quitted my retreat,
still the interest I felt in my child's welfare induced me
occasionally to undertake short journeys, which, however, I took
good care to abridge as much as possible.

I was one day returning from Rouen, where I had been, at her
request, to attend a cause then pending before the Parliament of
Normandy, respecting an inheritance to which I had claims derived
from my maternal grandfather.  Having taken the road by Evreux,
where I slept the first night, I on the following day, about
dinner-time, reached Passy, a distance of five or six leagues.  I
was amazed, on entering this quiet town, to see all the
inhabitants in commotion.  They were pouring from their houses in
crowds, towards the gate of a small inn, immediately before which
two covered vans were drawn up.  Their horses still in harness,
and reeking from fatigue and heat, showed that the cortege had
only just arrived.  I stopped for a moment to learn the cause of
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