THE ARM-CHAIR AT THE INN
his door; he had taken her in, put her to bed, and fed her. Later on her last lover discovered by chance her hiding-place, and in the mould-maker’s absence the two had found the earthen pot with the few francs he owned and had spent them. After that he had shut his door in her face. And so the fight went on, his ideal still alive in his heart, his one purpose to give it flight—‘soaring over the heads of the millions,’ as he put it, ‘so that even dullards might take off their hats in recognition.’
“When I again met him he was living in an old, abandoned theatre on the outskirts of Paris, a weird, uncanny ruin—rats everywhere—the scenery hanging in tatters, the stage broken down, the pit filled to the level of the footlights with a mass of coal—for a dealer in fuels had leased it for this purpose, his carts going in and out of the main entrance. One of the dressing-rooms over the flies was his studio, reached by a staircase from the old stage entrance. A former tenant had cut a skylight under which my friend worked.
“In answer to his ‘Entrez’ I pushed open his door and found him in a sculptor’s blouse cowering over a small sheet-iron stove on which some food was being cooked. He raised his