Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
While the grand hall appears like a fairy tale to Gaussin, he is uncomfortable and about to leave the ball when the courtesan Fanny Legrand, in the guise of an Egyptian woman, entices him with conversation, accompanying him to his student lodging in the rue Jacob. There, Gaussin chivalrously offers to carry Fanny up the four steep landings of the narrow stairway, but, in one of the funnier visual moments of the book, he is soon panting like a piano carrier despite his youth and enthusiasm for the task. Afterward, Fanny reappears frequently at his door for uninvited trysts; they walk about Paris, visiting cafés and bumping into once-famous artists who are now tarnished by time and dissipation, but whom Fanny always seems to know.
Eventually, Fanny entices Gaussin to come to her house on the rue de l’Arcade. It, too, appears opulent and luxurious on the surface, but the noisy arrival of a dejected suitor, whom Fanny berates in a low and vulgar fashion, quickly destroys the image of comfort and ease. Gaussin returns to his spartan student quarters, where he repeatedly turns away Fanny’s visits and prepares for his exams. When Gaussin becomes ill, Fanny seizes the opportunity to entrench herself in his life. They set up housekeeping on the rue d’Amsterdam, amid all the uproar of a nearly railway terminus. Eventually, however, Gaussin learns of Fanny’s checkered past. He loses his respect for her and returns to his family’s country estate.
Castelet estate (kast-eh-lay). Once-renowned vineyard in southern France to which Gaussin returns. The estate brought prosperity to Gaussin’s family in the past, but it has been brought close to run by his uncle’s weakness of character and a series of agricultural disasters. Gaussin’s mother, an invalid, and his aunt, the selfless Divonne, as well as his two saintly sisters Martha and Mary, serve as dramatic moral contrasts to the corrupted Fanny, whom Gaussin often thinks derisively of as Sappho, as she was called by her former lovers: the artists, writers, and poets. Gaussin writes to her that all is over, but she sidesteps his dismissal, manipulating him into living with her again, this time in the country.
Chatville (SHAT-veel). Village outside Paris where Gaussin and Fanny settle in order to economize and be near prior neighbors whose company they enjoyed on the rue d’Amsterdam. They live in an old hunting lodge at the entrance to a wood, near the old forest road that is called the Pave des Gardes. This is a more idyllic setting than those in which Gaussin lives earlier in the story. He and Fanny enjoy the silent green space, the surrounding gardens, and a clump of trees sloping to the bottom of a hill.