Francesca Is Short Of Twenty Years Old, Salemina Short Of Forty, I
Short Of Thirty.
Francesca is in love, Salemina never has been in
love, I never shall be in love.
Francesca is rich, Salemina is
well-to-do, I am poor. There we are in a nutshell.
We are not only in London again, but we are again in Smith's private
hotel; one of those deliciously comfortable and ensnaring hostelries
in Mayfair which one enters as a solvent human being, and which one
leaves as a bankrupt, no matter what may be the number of ciphers on
one's letter of credit; since the greater one's apparent supply of
wealth, the greater the demand made upon it. I never stop long in
London without determining to give up my art for a private hotel.
There must be millions in it, but I fear I lack some of the
essential qualifications for success. I never could have the heart,
for example, to charge a struggling young genius eight shillings a
week for two candles, and then eight shillings the next week for the
same two candles, which the struggling young genius, by dint of
vigorous economy, had managed to preserve to a decent height. No, I
could never do it, not even if I were certain that she would
squander the sixteen shillings in Bond Street fripperies instead of
laying them up against the rainy day.
It is Salemina who always unsnarls the weekly bill. Francesca
spends an evening or two with it, first of all, because, since she
is so young, we think it good mental-training for her, and not that
she ever accomplishes any results worth mentioning.
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