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"Remember my advice. As soon as you notice anything, go straight to Mme. Gouin; straight."

It is a veritable obsession, a mania. A little annoyed, I reply:

"But why do you expect me to notice anything? I know nobody here."

"Ah!" she exclaims, "a misfortune comes so quickly! A moment of forgetfulness,—it is very natural,—and there you are! Sometimes one does not know how it happens. I have seen some who were as sure as you are, and then it happened all the same. But with Mme. Gouin one can rest easy. So expert a woman is a real blessing to a town. Why, formerly, my dear little one, you saw nothing but children around here. The town was poisoned with children. An abomination! They swarmed in the streets, like chickens in a hen-yard. They bawled on the door-steps, and made a terrible hullaballoo. One saw nothing else. Well, I don't know whether you have noticed it, but to-day there are no more to be seen, almost none at all."

With a more slimy smile, she continues:

"Not that the girls amuse themselves any less. Oh! heavens, no! On the contrary. You never go out in the evening; but, if you were to take a walk at nine o'clock under the chestnut trees, you would see. Everywhere couples on the benches, kissing and caressing. It is a very pretty spectacle. Oh! to me, you know, love is so pretty. I