Paul de Kock
THE FLOWER GIRL
THE JEFFERSON PRESS
BOSTON NEW YORK
Copyrighted, 1903-1904, by G. B. & Sons.
THE FLOWER GIRL
OF THE CHÂTEAU D’EAU
I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII.
It was the month of May in the year 1853—you see that our subject is not lost in the night of time—it was a Monday and there was a flower market on Boulevard Saint-Martin, in front, or rather on both sides of the Château d’Eau. The booths of the dealers extended as far as Rue de Lancry, a favor which had been only recently accorded to the flower girls, but upon which the passers-by had as much reason to congratulate themselves as the dealers and the people of that portion of the quarter. Is there anything more delightful to the eye than flowers? What is there which charms the sight and pleases the sense of smell more?
Are there people who do not love flowers? If you should tell me that there were, I would not believe it.
The weather was fine, which was a rare occurrence during that spring, as you must remember as well as I. The sun had deigned to show himself, and people were very grateful to him, because the sun for the last few years had become too high and mighty a prince in France; he no longer condescended to mingle with the people, he showed himself too rarely to the inhabitants of this part of the globe. And yet, although we do not adore him on our knees, like the Incas, we take no less pleasure in seeing him, in feeling the pleasant warmth of his beams, and although we are great friends of invention and of progress, we have not yet found anything to replace the sun.
There were therefore many people on the boulevards, and particularly near the flower market; everyone was anxious to take advantage of a fine day, not being certain of another on the morrow; and everybody was sensible: fine weather, pleasure and happiness we must seize you when you come to us, and never say: “I will wait till to-morrow.”
Among all the people who were walking and sauntering and examining the flowers displayed on the asphalt or the concrete, there were, as is always the case at that market, more women than men. Do the ladies care more for flowers than we do? I might say some very pretty things on that subject, as for example: “Birds of a feather flock together,” or: “Where can one be more at home than in the bosom of his family?” or again—but no, I will not repeat what you have already seen or heard a hundred times. Moreover, I think that François I said something better than any of that.
Furthermore, if the ladies are fonder of flowers than we are, you see they have much more time to attend to them. I once knew a bachelor, a clerk in a business house, who adored flowers, and although of small means, could not resist the temptation to purchase a handsome rosebush or a wood-violet, which he instantly carried home and placed in triumph on his window-sill. But that gentleman was a heavy sleeper, and when he woke he had hardly time to dress and go to his office. He did not dine at home, and when he returned at night he was always in a hurry to go to bed. The result was that, after two or three days, when he attempted to gloat over the flower that he had purchased, he was surprised to find it dead.
“But why didn’t you water it?” someone would ask him.
“Why—why—because I have noticed that it always rains sooner or later.”
We will, with your permission, allow those of the passers-by who are indifferent to us to go their way, and will follow the steps of a family composed of a mother, her son and her daughter.
The mother’s name was Madame Glumeau; her first name was Lolotte. She was a lady who had reached the wrong side of forty; she had once been pretty, a piquant brunette, whose bright and