A Very Long Engagement

by Sebastien Japrisot

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What do Mathilde and Sylvain notice on Ange Bassignano's tomb in the Herdelin cemetery?

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Mathilde is with her uncle Sylvain at the Herdelin cemetery, visiting the grave where Manech is supposed be buried. She recalls the first time she visited the place, and saw the graves of Manech's co-condemned. She remembers seeing the little white crosses marking the final resting places of Jean Echevery and Kleber Bouquet. Finally, a few rows away, she saw the grave of Ange Bassignano. On his grave was a vase of flowers made of colored beads, which spelled the name "Tina." This was Tina Lombardi, his prostitute girlfriend.

Mathilde remembers being rather annoyed to see a tribute left on the grave of such a disreputable character, this notorious pimp otherwise known as "Common Law." While she was still searching high and low for Marech, Tina, someone Mathilde dismisses as "a tart from the mean streets of Belle de Mai," had managed to track down her departed lover and adorn his grave with an appropriate memorial. The implication is that a tribute such as this is wasted on an unsavory character like Ange Bassignano.

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