A Little Tour In France, By Henry James



























































































 -   There is no rule of good manners or morals
which makes it improper, at a cafe, to fix one's eyes - Page 210
A Little Tour In France, By Henry James - Page 210 of 276 - First - Home

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There Is No Rule Of Good Manners Or Morals Which Makes It Improper, At A Cafe, To Fix One's Eyes Upon The _Dame De Comptoir_; The Lady Is, In The Nature Of Things, A Part Of Your _Consommation_.

We were there- fore feee to admire without restriction the handsomest person I had ever seen give change for a five-franc piece.

She was a large quiet woman, who would never see forty again; of an intensely feminine type, yet wonderfully rich and robust, and full of a certain phy- sical nobleness. Though she was not really old, she was antique, and she was very grave, even a little sad. She had the dignity of a Roman empress, and she handled coppers as if they had been stamped with the head of Caesar. I have seen washerwomen in the Trastevere who were perhaps as handsome as she; but even the head-dress of the Roman contadina con- tributes less to the dignity of the person born to wear it than the sweet and stately Arlesian cap, which sits at once aloft and on the back of the head; which is accompanied with a wide black bow covering a con- siderable part of the crown; and which, finally, accom- modates itself indescribably well to the manner in which the tresses of the front are pushed behind the cars.

This admirable dispenser of lumps of sugar has distracted me a little; for I am still not sufficiently historical. Before going to the cafe I had dined, and before dining I had found time to go and look at the arena.

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