. I know your
Saint-Vincent-de-Pauls, and all the devil's saints, and all the deputies. No, thank you ! ' '
Then, suddenly, without transition, I asked:
" Just what is your old nian? To be sure, one more or less will make no difference. It is not a matter of great consequence, after all."
But Mme. Paulhat-Durand did not unbend. She declared, in a firm voice :
"It is useless. Mademoiselle. You are not the serious woman, the trusty person, that this gentle- man needs. I thought you were more suitable. With you, one cannot be sure of anything."
I insisted a long time, but she was inflexible. And I went back to the ante-room in a very uncer- tain state of mind. Oh ! that ante-room, so sad and dark, always the same! These girls sprawling and crushed upon the benches, this market for human meat to tempt bourgeois voracity, this flux of filth and this reflux of poverty that bring you back there, mournful waifs, wreckage from the sea, eternally tossed hither and thither.
" "What a queer type I am! " thought I. "I desire things . . . things . . . things . . . when I think them unrealizable, and, so soon as they promjse realization, so soon as they present themselves to me in clearer outline, I no longer want them."
There was something of this, certainly, in my refusal; but there was also a childish desire to