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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-01-14 21:52:27
Typefacelarge in Small

Poor Jr. had taken a step toward her as she fell back; I could only see the two figures as two shadows upon shadow, while for them I had melted altogether and was forgotten.

For some reason I came to be persuaded that she had left Paris, that she had gone away; and I pictured her—a little despairingly—on the borders of Lucerne, with the white Alps in the sky above her,—or perhaps listening to the evening songs on the Grand Canal, and I would try to feel the little rocking of her gondola, making myself dream that I sat at her feet. Or I could see the grey flicker of the pongee skirt in the twilight distance of cathedral aisles with a chant sounding from a chapel; and, so dreaming, I would start spasmodically, to hear the red-coated orchestra of a cafe’ blare out into “Bedelia,” and awake to the laughter and rouge and blague which that dear pongee had helped me for a moment to forget!

“Exceedingly!” I answered, bowing low to her.

We had gone to Lucerne; it was clear moonlight, and we smoked on our little balcony at the Schweitzerhof, puffing our small clouds in the enormous face of the strangest panorama of the world, that august disturbation of the earth by gods in battle, left to be a land of tragic fables since before Pilate was there, and remaining the same after William Tell was not. I sat looking up at the mountains, and he leaned on the rail, looking down at the lake. Somewhere a woman was singing from Pagliacci, and I slowly arrived at a consciousness that I had sighed aloud once or twice, not so much sadly, as of longing to see that lady, and that my companion had permitted similar sounds to escape him, but more mournfully. It was then that I asked him, in earnestness, yet with the manner of making a joke, if he did not think often of some one in North America.

Printemps

Such was the necessity to which I was at that time reduced! One has heard that the North Americans invent the most singular advertising, but I will not believe they surpass the Parisian. Myself, I say I cannot express my sufferings under the notation of the crowds that moved about the Cafe’ de la Paix! The French are a terrible people when they laugh sincerely. It is not so much the amusing things which cause them amusement; it is often the strange, those contrasts which contain something horrible, and when they laugh there is too frequently some person who is uncomfortable or wicked. I am glad that I was born not a Frenchman; I should regret to be native to a country where they invent such things as I was doing in the Place de l’Opera; for, as I tell you, the idea was not mine.


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