• At five-thirty the rain began to fall in great, heavy drops which bounced off the pavement before they spread out into black spots. At the same time thunder rumbled from the direction of Charenton and an eddy of wind lifted the dust, carried away the hats of passers-by who took to their heels and who, after a few confused moments, were all in the shelter of doorways or under the awnings of cafe terraces. Street pedlars of the Faubourg Saint-Antoine scurried about with an apron or a sack over their heads, pushing their carts as they tried to run. Rivulets already began to flow along the two sides of the street, the gutters sang, and on every floor you could see people hurriedly closing their windows

    Georges Simenon
  • The sun finally died in beauty, flinging out its crimson flames, which cast their reflection on the faces of passers-by, giving them a strangely feverish look. The darkness of the trees became deeper. You could hear the Seine flowing. Sounds carried farther, and people in their beds could feel, as they did every night, the vibration of the ground as buses rolled past

    Georges Simenon
  • The street sprinkler went past and, as its rasping rotary broom spread water over the tarmac, half the pavement looked as if it had been painted with a dark stain. A big yellow dog had mounted a tiny white bitch who stood quite still.In the fashion of colonials the old gentleman wore a light jacket, almost white, and a straw hat.Everything held its position in space as if prepared for an apotheosis. In the sky the towers of Notre-Dame gathered about themselves a nimbus of heat, and the sparrows – minor actors almost invisible from the street – made themselves at home high up among the gargoyles. A string of barges drawn by a tug with a white and red pennant had crossed the breadth of Paris and the tug lowered its funnel, either in salute or to pass under the Pont Saint-Louis.Sunlight poured down rich and luxuriant, fluid and gilded as oil, picking out highlights on the Seine, on the pavement dampened by the sprinkler, on a dormer window, and on a tile roof on the Île Saint-Louis. A mute, overbrimming life flowed from each inanimate thing, shadows were violet as in impressionist canvases, taxis redder on the white bridge, buses greener.A faint breeze set the leaves of a chestnut tree trembling, and all down the length of the quai there rose a palpitation which drew voluptuously nearer and nearer to become a refreshing breath fluttering the engravings pinned to the booksellers’ stalls.People had come from far away, from the four corners of the earth, to live that one moment. Sightseeing cars were lined up on the parvis of Notre-Dame, and an agitated little man was talking through a megaphone.Nearer to the old gentleman, to the bookseller dressed in black, an American student contemplated the universe through the view-finder of his Leica.Paris was immense and calm, almost silent, with her sheaves of light, her expanses of shadow in just the right places, her sounds which penetrated the silence at just the right moment.The old gentleman with the light-coloured jacket had opened a portfolio filled with coloured prints and, the better to look at them, propped up the portfolio on the stone parapet.The American student wore a red checked shirt and was coatless.The bookseller on her folding chair moved her lips without looking at her customer, to whom she was speaking in a tireless stream. That was all doubtless part of the symphony. She was knitting. Red wool slipped through her fingers.The white bitch’s spine sagged beneath the weight of the big male, whose tongue was hanging out.And then when everything was in its place, when the perfection of that particular morning reached an almost frightening point, the old gentleman died without saying a word, without a cry, without a contortion while he was looking at his coloured prints, listening to the voice of the bookseller as it ran on and on, to the cheeping of the sparrows, the occasional horns of taxis.He must have died standing up, one elbow on the stone ledge, a total lack of astonishment in his blue eyes. He swayed and fell to the pavement, dragging along with him the portfolio with all its prints scattered about him.The male dog wasn’t at all frightened, never stopped. The woman let her ball of wool fall from her lap and stood up suddenly, crying out:‘Monsieur Bouvet!

    Georges Simenon
  • Savez-vous que c'est à cause de cette recherche de ce que j'appellerais les compensations, cette rechercher d'un bonheur malgré tout, que naissent les manies et, souvent, les déséquilibres

    Georges Simenon
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