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29 oProud Women, Passionate Men The World of Gossip—A Good Reputation is Worth More Than Emeralds—Lionel in Paris—Love Resembles Hatred—Mogador Shot in Effigy—The Carriage Offered by Lionel Does Not Dazzle Richard   diligently courted Mlle Ozy, then he suddenly stopped.1 She had inquired into the reason for such an abrupt cooling. She hated me without knowing me. One day Richard and one of his friends, the Count de B, were dining at my house. ‘‘By theway,’’ said the Count, ‘‘I hopeyou are going to the ball at Ozy’s tomorrow because I am afraid I shall not know anyone otherwise.’’ ‘‘I would go,’’ said Richard, ‘‘if Céleste had been invited.’’ ‘‘Is that all?’’ said his friend, relieved. ‘‘I shall get an invitation for her; I just have to go next door.’’ And sure enough, he was not gone more than a quarter hour. I went into my room, intending to listen in. ‘‘So,’’ said Richard. ‘‘Well! Dear friend, you did not tell me that you were intimate with her. She told me, ‘I do not mind if he comes, but I do not want to see Mlle Mogador. Horrors! This girl will never set foot in my house.’ ’’ ‘‘Do not say anything,’’ said Richard. ‘‘Céleste must never know.’’ I came back into the room pretending not to know. I promised myself that the proud Ozy would receive me within a week.Victorine knew her. I went to see her.     ‘‘My dear, yesterday I received a grievous affront. Someone requested for me an invitation to Mlle Ozy’s house, and the woman refused in  Proud Women, Passionate Men terms that wounded me. I want to know her and I want to be seen with her. Can you help me?’’ ‘‘No, I do not see her anymore. But I am surprised by her scorn; her talent is like yours. As for the name of Mogador, you could do like her: change it. Alice Ozy is a nice name, but it is not her name. I believe she could receiveyou on an equal footing. In fact, right now she is associated with Rose Pompon. You must know Rose Pompon!’’ I went to see Rose Pompon, who proceeded to tell me all sorts of things. At her house was a woman who was her piano teacher; she sent her to convey hercompliments to Mlle Ozy. I understood that this piano teacher could be useful to me. I asked her to come see me. She came the next day. She was about forty years old. She began to malign Ozy in spite of the fact that she was dressed from head to foot in clothes she got through Ozy’s generosity. I said, ‘‘You see, madame, I have an extreme desire to make the acquaintance of Mlle Ozy. They say her apartment is quite sumptuous.’’ ‘‘And you would like to see it,’’ she said with a slight airof superiority. ‘‘I must admit, that is why I went to see Pompon, but not being sure of her influence, I did not ask her anything.’’ ‘‘Oh! You were right! Mlle Alice is sick and tired of this Pompon. She is a liar—constantly makes promises and breaks them. I am going to tell Ozy that you are always talking about her and of her affluence. Send her some flowers and within two days she will invite you to come visit her.’’ And so, Ozy sent word through the piano teacher that I was being extravagant, that she had received from me a gorgeous basket, and that she would like for me to come over to see how beautiful it looks in her living room. I did not wait for a second invitation, and I did not regret it. She was charming. The next day she sent word asking if I wanted to dine with her by the fireplace. My reply arrived with a superb bouquet. She gave me a complete course in philosophy. She talked to me about the Bible, the greatness and the decadence of the Romans, and their simple and modest tastes.         I received an invitation to her ball. What a great occasion to wear my emeralds! I was the first to arrive. Herapartment was flooded with lights and flowers. Two women came in. She went to greet them. When she came back, I asked her their names.  Proud Women, Passionate Men ‘‘Mesdemoiselles Ber’’ ‘‘They are sisters?’’ ‘‘No, they are mother and daughter...


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