" And you did not stay in your place? In Paris it is not the same thing."
" No," she exclaimed, energetically. "I could have remained ; it was not that. But I was not treated right."
Her dull eyes lighted up strangely. Something like a gleam of pride passed over them. And her body straightened up, and became almost transfigured.
" I was not treated right," she repeated. " The old man made advances to me."
For a moment I was stunned by this revelation. Was it possible? Then a desire, even that of a low and nasty old man, had been felt for this bundle of shapeless flesh, this monstrous irony of nature? A kiss had wished to place itself upon these decaying teeth and mingle with this rotten breath ? Ah ! what filthy things men are ! What a frightful madness, then, is love ! I looked at Louise. But the flame had gone out of her eyes. Once more her pupils looked like dead gray spots.
" That was some time ago? " I asked.
" Three months."
' ' And since then you have found no place ? ' '
" Nobody wants me. I do not know why. When I enter the bureau, all the ladies cry out at the sight of me: ' No, no; I don't want her.' There must surely be some spell over me. For, you know, I am not ugly ; I am very