A 20th-Century narrator sets the scene.
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'Any impartial reader of this testament might at this stage be tempted to conclude that the remainder of this story is to be the familiar, well-trodden path to ruin taken by so many young women of unscrupulous beauty. But you would be wrong. My life has never done homage to the overblown fantasies of a playwright, and I would not wish you to entertain a false impression.'