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The deserted woman
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A young man who, of all things, is sent to rural Normandy near Bayeux to recover his health fits into the aristocratic scene easily. He is the Baron Gaston de Nueil, and he has good teeth and some prospects in life. While in Normandy, he hears that the notorious Madame de Beauseant, who has been thrown over by the Marquis d’Ajuda-Pinto, has moved into town. The Baron is intrigued and manages to wrangle an introduction from one of her kinsmen. The Baron is a very young and inexperienced 23; Mme de Beauseant, 30 — and married, but not to excess, and not living with her husband. He manages to get into her chateau with his letter, but it quickly becomes apparent to the Vicomtesse that he is practicing his wiles on her. At first, she instructs her servant to show him out; but he comes...