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Camille by Alexandre Dumas fils
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Chapter I

In my opinion, it is impossible to create characters until one
has spent a long time in studying men, as it is impossible to
speak a language until it has been seriously acquired. Not being
old enough to invent, I content myself with narrating, and I beg
the reader to assure himself of the truth of a story in which all
the characters, with the exception of the heroine, are still
alive. Eye-witnesses of the greater part of the facts which I
have collected are to be found in Paris, and I might call upon
them to confirm me if my testimony is not enough. And, thanks to
a particular circumstance, I alone can write these things, for I
alone am able to give the final details, without which it would
have been impossible to make the story at once interesting and

This is how these details came to my knowledge. On the 12th of
March, 1847, I saw in the Rue Lafitte a great yellow placard
announcing a sale of furniture and curiosities. The sale was to
take place on account of the death of the owner. The owner's name
was not mentioned, but the sale was to be held at 9, Rue d'Antin,
on the 16th, from 12 to 5. The placard further announced that the
rooms and furniture could be seen on the 13th and 14th.
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