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gait, the best of friends with truly than the author had the attentive producer. His drawn her, because she was, speeches to her were as honey all simply, the ribald seller that dripped from his tongue. of apples from the streets of Had she been his own mother, Montmartre. he could have shown her no Imagine the exultation of more knightly courtesy.

César Corneille ! Once again Yes, mes amis, he is a his expectation was verified. magician, this fat César Cor- How had he worked this strange neille. He makes something miracle ! Like all great deeds, from nothing, a terribly diffi- here was

here was a simple thing. I

I cult task. In that brief inter- hesitate to disclose it. But I val, with one little thought tell you this : each evening added to previous pains, he thereafter, before the first cursucceeded in making a talented tain and between every act, a actress of Mère Fradeau.

small tumbler of cognac was In that last great scene the left in her dressing-room, nor beggar's respectability had would any one inquire what flown to the winds. Mère had become of it. Sufficient Fradeau was herself. No more to say that it always disapgenteel accents ; her voice was peared. Night after night that her own, harsh as the croak of first great success was rea crow, sbrill as a cry of tor- peated, Mère Fradeau merely ment in the moments of tense repeating her lines, acting only emotion. Ah, that dramatic in the manner which time had meeting between mother and taught to the old woman, La daughter ! Her denunciation Goulue. was worthy of a Rachel. The Did Cécé know that here he house held all its collective flirted with danger ? One canbreath until the sob of

The success of the woman broke a silence too moment was ample for him. intense, and, at the end of the Each night the theatre was scene, against all precedent, filled to the doors, while many the audience laughed and wept clamoured for admittance outin the hysteria of applause. side. Seats were sold for many To all of this Mère Fradeau weeks in advance. The wonderpaid no least attention. Only ful acting of mother and daugha moment later, in a queer, ter became all the talk of the cracked, comical voice, her boulevards. The glory of La anger forgotten, she was beg- Poupée was equally shared with ging for sous, the beggar's her disreputable parent. Will

. whine to the life, changing to you believe it? The old woman curses for all the uncharitable; never thought to ask for a a portrait so excellent that the salary ! Fame pleased her mirth of the audience burst enough. Her familiarity with upward to the dome. Mes theatrical customs was nothing amis, she was the beggar more at all. One may imagine that


not say.

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our Poupée was less heedless. gabegie ? she demanded at It is almost a certainty that once in choler. One underMère Fradeau paid her daughter stands that the line was not exorbitant interest on that five in the play. hundred francs a month.

The stumbler passed and said Messieurs, you have, without nothing, because the author doubt, often heard the old had given her nothing to say. proverb, Chassez le naturel, il Mère Fradeau was unused to revient au galop.” That, in- bring ignored so completely. deed, was something to be ex- She reached up to seize a fistful pected.

Now I tell you of the of silken skirt which compelled fall of Madame Fradeau.

delay. One comes to the second Gaffeuse !" she growled. week of her ordained triumph. “I demand to know why you The first act passed without kicked me ? incident. Never so perfect was Let me loose, what?” imthe acting of Mère Fradeau. plored the detained one, with Speaking that one line in the an anxious glance towards the second act, she seemed some- wings. what uncertain ; stumbled and And then, after that ..." hesitated over a little word. “Oh, please pardon me!" These things may happen to whispered the sufferer in an any actress at times. Never agony of affright. with such natural clumsiness Eh bien, that's better," the of old age had she made her old woman granted. Mainteentrance for the third act, rags nant, tu peux ficher le camp fluttering about her, grey hair d’ici. Take care not to fall in disarray, a pitiable figure against me again ! of senile poverty and abject Chuckling, she sank into her misery. Yet her eyes were place on the steps of the cathebright; her first lines spoken dral, well content with this with unusual emphasis. César little victory. Corneille, from the wings, re- Cécé gasped in the wings. garded her closely. Always After all, not so bad ! What alert throughout every perform- possessed the old woman! ance, delicate instinct warned Even so, the lines might have him that there was something been in the play. At least they almost too natural in the acting gained a laugh from the of Mère Fradeau.

audience. The supers passed by her, Epastrouillant !" cheered a entering the painted doors of voice from the gallery. At the the mimic cathedral. Whining, sound of that barbaric word in she held out her skinny hands familiar argot, Mère Fradeau for alms. Then, unfortunately, looked up. She was feeling in one of them stumbled against a very good humour. ber.

Toi, de l'esbrouffe !she Que fiches-tu avec cette called back good - naturels,

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Fermes ton bec! Who gave the stage was deserted.

At you a part in this rigmarole ! one side, hidden behind the

The gallery roared at their flies, La Belle Poupée gestured comrade thus casually worsted. desperately.

desperately. Opposite,

Opposite, César Unhappily, Madame Fradeau Corneille danced in agony, both believed that they were laugh- hands tearing


beard. ing at her. That thought was Ranged behind were all of offensive. Her black eyes be- the company, white-faced, waittrayed a more choleric gleam. ing for the explosion that could Sale clique !" she called, not be delayed.

not be delayed. What sacridetermined to have her own. lege! That this should hap""I'll give you another egg to pen on the stage of the Comédie! stick in your gullets! Beast of Only Mère Fradeau was wholly a thousand heads! You may at ease. swallow that !

' Pif-paf is it, then !” she ! Now, for the first time in screamed at her tormentors. many weeks, Mère Fradeau Believe you that one gets was really enjoying herself. that way on water, hein ?This was an encounter quite Her voice was hoarse with the in her usual style. The joy passion of futile anger.

If of the riff-raff under the ceil- only she had them within ing was not less pronounced. reach of her claws ! Pif-paf!

V'là ! cried the gallery. Voyous ! Talk when you are Let fly, Grandma Gaga! able to take something other Rouspetez jusqu'à la gauche ! than milk !” Chirp on, old cricket ! Give From the darkened wings us more of that love-making. two stage hands crept out; Sweetheart, sing us a song !" moved toward the old woman

Something like panic reigned cautiously from behind. in the fauteuils and the boxes. It was to be expected. Some More than panic clutched at gamin of the gallery recogthe heart of César Corneille. nised an old acquaintance. A

Sing you a clout on the little figure far overhead leaned ear!” yelled angry Mère Fra- out perilously over the railing. deau. “I'll make love to you “Oh, , kiss me, Mother

, devils with five fingers at the Goulue ! ” face !"

With pleasure ! At the end She sprang from her place; of a fist !” answered transadvanced somewhat unsteadily figured La Goulue. She stepped to the footlights.

over the footlights. A foot Qu'elle est pif - paf! reached precariously down. The chanted the gallery gods in stage hands clutched at her. delighted amaze.

She noticed them just in time. Mère Fradeau claimed the With that she dropped, forscene. Except for the old saking all dignity. The orwoman, hands on her hips, chestra gave way for her. Igswaying behind the footlights, noring modesty, she climbed


over the rail. The aristocrats against her. Out!

It took in the boxes, curiosity con

con- her only a moment to underquering sense of exalted posi- stand. tion, crowded forward to watch She had made a mistake. the progression of La Goulue. She turned backward. Blue She sped up the central aisle. arms, like steel bars, closed The house arose, shouting and every possible entrance. She laughing. Grave gentlemen in told the guards what she garb of ceremony climbed on thought without the least hesitheir seats, scolded by women tation. who thus were denied a view. “Enough of it!" growled a Not a hand reached out from the policeman at her elbow. of fauteuils. Beneath the prosce- all policemen she was mortally nium the company crowded afraid. She scuttled away forward, all eyes on La Goulue. hastily, lest she should fall

She had one idea in mind, beneath the condemnation of and one idea only. There the law's benign gaze. were her tormentors howling In the vast amphitheatre of over her head. Somewhere the Comédie every light was at the back there was a way to turned on. Cécé tried to make get at them. She meant to his voice heard against the earfind that way.

shattering tumult : Across the promenade sped “ Messieurs et 'dames that precipitate passage. Little It was hopeless. With wavdoors opened before her to let ing hands he herded his stricken her through. There were three company into the wings. attendants in uniform.

“ Curtain !” he cried, the This way, madame,” one final answer to all calamity. politely informed her.

Slowly the curtain descended Being 80 constituted, she

as the orchestra leader, a little could think of but one thing at man of some sense, gestured a time. All information was frantically to his musicians. helpful. She ploughed forward He waved his baton. “Va!” in the indicated direction.

he gave the accustomed comOne, never courteously, mand. opened wide a great door. wind, brass, and tympani Suddenly, all unexpectedly, crashed suddenly is to a furious

, another pushed her from be

wave of sound. Tb , leader had hind. She stumbled, swayed, not chosen the mi sical theme regained an upright position. too well; it was

si 'he Retreat A cold wind ruffled the fallen from Moscow " that hey played strands of grey hair.

so valiantly, but with the Diable ! What was this? general excitement i pt any one Above her, dark sky! The noticed that final ti ach in the pavement beneath her feet! farce. Across the street lights flaring Out on the stree bravely. Some

one jostled distance away from the Com

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Violins, viols, wood

at some was

édie, La Goulue paused to take returns. It returns, indeed, stock of the situation. She with an added impetus. It is had no least idea just where better to be oneself than to act she found herself. She thought, a part, as indeed one must be, indeed, of going straightway although to be natural, after home to the Villa des En- playing a rôle, may strangely chantées, but she had only the result in great disadvantages. vaguest notion of where that From such a calamity La was. Somewhere to the south Goulue was saved only because of Paris, but north, south, she had so little to lose. She east, or west were all the same lost naught that she wanted, to her. She wandered aimlessly and much that made her more forward only because to stand comfortable leaving it all bestill

wearisome. That, hind. Nor, indeed, did any also, was not so very amusing one suffer either from her reafter a while. She had turned demption or her relapse. 'L'Alinto a little mean street where lumeuse' continued to play to the darkness welcomed her. packed houses. Tradition susLight bloomed in the window tained it. Paris had flocked to of an obscure estaminet. It see mother and daughter, our was the excitement, no doubt, Poupée and La Goulue. They that made her so terribly thirsty. continued from habit, because She felt in her pockets ; fifteen Paris loves La Poupée, because francs, besides the mock charity no play had ever received such sous bestowed as alms on the publicity before. Cécé is constage. More than sufficient! tented. True, he failed to As a moth of the night seeks make a great actress of La the flame, her feet, without Goulue. But that, it will be volition, conducted the old remembered, was only the woman through the inviting second of his intentions. It door of the estaminet.

was, he had said, the man of René Guizet paused, raised affairs in him who knew that his glass, sipped the last of his advertisement is more importbock with appreciation.

ant than actors to the success And there, he said, we come of a play. to the end of the story. The La Goulue? She sells apples explanation | Simple enough, at the old place near the Pont needing only one more little de Clichy. She has no regrets fact to make everything clear. for her lost position. She has Mère Fradeau left only one but added one new phrase to thing behind for which she her astounding vocabulary. would ever have any regret ;

“Once, when I was a great a half-bottle of cognac, found actress in her dressing-room.

In any contest of wits, that Yes, mes amis, this is cer- is now her final answer,

the tainly true; chase out the last word sbe uses to express natural ; at a gallop it swiftly haughty disdain.

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