“Very coquettish, rather ambitious, but without any pretensions to spelling.
“Oh! those delightful suppers in the Quartier Latin!
“A perpetual alternative between a blue brougham and an omnibus; between the Rue Breda and the Quartier Latin.
“...Well! what of that? From time to time I feel the need of breathing the atmosphere of such a life as this. My madcap existence is like a song; each of my love-episodes forms a verse of it, but Marcel is its refrain!”
IN THE LATIN QUARTER
A conflux of streets; where they meet, a square, flanked by shops of all sorts; on one side the Cafe Momus.
Aloof from the crowd, RUDOLPH and MIMI; COLLINE is near a rag-shop, SCHAUNARD stands outside a tinker’s, buying a pipe and a horn, MARCEL is being hustled hither and thither.
A vast, motley crowd; soldiers, serving maids, boys, girls, children, students, work girls, gendarmes, etc. It is evening. The shops are decked with tiny lamps; a huge lantern lights up the entrance to the Cafe Momus. The cafe is so crowded that some of the customers are obliged to seat themselves outside.
HAWKERS. (outside their shops)
Come, buy my oranges!
Hot roasted chestnuts!
Trinkets and crosses!
Flowers for the ladies!
Try our candy!
Cream for the babies!
Fat larks and ortolans!
Look at them!
Look at our chestnuts!
Who’ll buy my carrots?
CITIZENS. What a racket!
WOMEN. What uproar!
STUDENTS and WORK GIRLS.
Hold fast to me; come along!
A MOTHER. (calling her children) Lisa! Emma!
CITIZENS. Ho! make way there!
THE MOTHER. Emma, don’t you hear me?
STUDENTS and WORK GIRLS. Rue Mazarin’s the nearest.
WOMEN. Let’s get away, I’m choking!
CITIZENS. See! the cafe is near!
(At the Cafe)
Come here, waiter!
SCH. (blowing the horn)
D! D! D! what a dreadful D!
(Haggling with the tinker.)
What’s the price of the lot?
COL. (to the clothes dealer, who has been mending
a jacket for him)
It’s rather shabby, but sound and not expensive.
(He pays, and then carefully consigns the books to the various pockets of his long coat.)
(MARCEL alone in the midst of the crowd, with a parcel under his arm, making eyes at the girls who jostle against him in the crowd.)