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10 o A ‘‘Queen’s’’ Destiny She Wanted to Be a Nun . . .—Those Roguish Journalists!— The Kind Young Man from Toulouse—Hired at the Hippodrome— No More Kind Young Man (from Toulouse)—Camille   ’ I was at my new friend’s house. I expected to see a luxuriously furnished boudoir, but I was surprised to find myself in a kennel. Anyway that was my reaction to Pomaré’s apartment, it was so messy and dirty. She lived in a large, sparsely furnished room; her chest of drawers was covered with a multitude of little objects, souvenirs of her triumphs at the Mabille dance hall. Each object was covered with an inch of dust. On a table papers lay in disarray next to a pile of issues of Charivari. Her blue dress was lying on the floor. I noticed, hanging on the wall, a plaster Virgin adorned with a little necklace and a crown. On the mantle the queen had put her hat in a plate. She was still in bed, head bare, and hair tousled. ‘‘Forgive me,’’ she said, ‘‘my housework is not done yet. The person I rent from is supposed to do everything and does nothing.’’ She jumped out of bed and went into a sort of anteroom whose window looked out on a courtyard. She called her porter, who was also her landlord. He came up. ‘‘Fix us some lunch.’’ ‘‘Certainly, but give me some money.’’ ‘‘I do not have any.’’ ‘‘Now, really,’’ said the old man, ‘‘you must have at least twenty sous.’’ ‘‘No,’’ she said, ‘‘not a farthing left.’’ ‘‘Well, then, go have lunch wherever you wish, but I am not extending you any more credit.’’  A ‘‘Queen’s’’ Destiny ‘‘Now, do not be mean! I invited a friend; I cannot send her away.’’ ‘‘Is that right?’’ said the old man. ‘‘Not only you want me to feed you, but I have to feed others as well.’’ And he went downstairs fussing. I had heard everything and I was quite embarrassed. She did not lose her composure and told me, as she came back into the room, that we were going to eat out because, as the concierge just let her know, her domestic was not back. That was really something. I bit my lip to keep from bursting out laughing. I had seen her the night before throwing at least ten francs in change. Obviously she was mad.       . . . I asked Pomaré to wait for me. I went downstairs, and a few minutes later I returned with everything we needed for lunch. ‘‘I shall reimburse you soon for everything you spent,’’ she said with incredible audacity. I asked her a couple of questions about her past, but she changed the subject without answering. And yet I really wanted to know. ‘‘All right,’’ she said after lunch, ‘‘you are a sweet girl; promise me you will not tell anyone, and I shall confess all to you.’’ I promised, and she began. ‘‘I came into the world in Paris in . My father was rich and I was his first child. He had approximately , francs of capital invested in a theater and it paid fifteen, sometimes twenty percent in interest. I was placed in one of the first boarding schools of Paris. My mother had given me two brothers and two sisters, yet they did not curtail what my parents spent on me. I was seventeen when I heard at the boarding school that there had been a terribly destructive fire on Boulevard du Temple. Two days later my father came to see me. He had been crying. ‘‘ ‘I am broke,’ he told me. ‘The fire ate everything up. My poor Lise, I had no insurance!’ ‘‘ ‘Do not worry about me, dear father. You know very well that my deepest desire is to be a nun,’ I told him. ‘‘ ‘No,’ he said hugging me tight, ‘your mother is almost mad with grief. You must comfort her, help her. I am here to bring you home.’ ‘‘Back home, I found everyone in deep despair. ‘‘My mother was slightly out of her head, so I had to take care of the children.  A ‘‘Queen’s’’ Destiny ‘‘Soon we were so poor that we let the maid go and I was left to do everything by myself. ‘‘A young man that my father had in his employ often came to the house. He told me so often that he loved me that I gave myself to him without much resistance. ‘‘One day...


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