Paul de Kock
MY NEIGHBOR RAYMOND
THE JEFFERSON PRESS
BOSTON NEW YORK
Copyrighted, 1903-1904, by G. B. & Sons.
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MY NEIGHBOR RAYMOND
I was strolling along the boulevards one Saturday evening. I was alone, and in a meditative mood; contrary to my usual custom, I was indulging in some rather serious reflections on the world and its people, on the past and the present, on the mind and the body, on the soul, on thought, chance, fate, and destiny. I believe, indeed, that I was on the point of turning my attention to the moon, which was just appearing, and in which I already saw mountains, lakes, and forests,—for with a little determination one may see in the moon whatever one pleases,—when, as I was gazing at the sky, I suddenly collided with a person going in the opposite direction, whom I had not previously noticed.
“Look where you’re going, monsieur; you’re very awkward!” at once remarked a soft, sweet voice, which not even anger deprived of its charm. I have always had a weakness for pleasant voices; so I instantly descended from the regions to which I had mounted only for lack of something better to do, and looked at the person who had addressed me.
It was a girl of sixteen to eighteen years, with a little cap tied under her chin, a calico dress, and a modest apron of black mohair. She had every appearance of a young workgirl who had just finished her day’s work and was on her way home. I made haste to look at her face: a charming face, on my word! Bright, mischievous eyes, a tiny nose, fine teeth, black hair, and a most attractive ensemble; an expressive face, too, and a certain charming grace in her bearing. I was forced to confess that I saw no such pretty things in the moon.
The girl had under her arm a pasteboard box, which I had unwittingly jostled; she