Title: A Lodging for the Night: A Story of Francis Villon
Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
In: Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde & Other Stories (Robert Louis Stevenson)
Rating Out of 5: 3.5 (Liked this)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Crime
Format: Short story
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
5th sentence, 74th page: What right has a man to have red hair when he is dead?
It was late in November 1456. The snow fell over Paris with rigorous, relentless persistence; sometimes the wind made a sally and scattered it in flying vortices; sometimes there was a lull, and flake after flake descended out of the black night air, silent, circuitous, interminable. To poor people, looking up under moist eyebrows, it seemed a wonder where it all came from. Master Francis Villon had propounded an alternative that afternoon, at a tavern window: was it only Pagan Jupiter plucking geese upon Olympus, or were the holy angels moulting? He was only a poor Master of Arts, he went on; and as the question somewhat touched upon divinity, he durst not venture to conclude. A silly old priest from Montargis, who was among the company, treated the young rascal to a bottle of wine in honor of the jest and the grimaces with which it was accompanied, and swore on his own white beard that he had been just such another irreverent dog when he was Villon’s age.
I’m still not entirely sure of the gist of this story. I even read a few passages multiple times. But I still enjoyed it. Even when I didn’t quite get what was going on…
What I loved about this story was the dialogue. I am not the best at writing dialogue at the best of times. And even worse at writing long, heavy conversations. Yet, Stevenson pulls this off amazingly. There are aspects of the prose that are completely constructed of the dialogue between two individuals, and although it is a little long-winded, it is certainly beautifully done and well-written.
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