STREET ARABS and HAWKERS. The drum-major, look! what a dandy!
STUDENTS and WORK GIRLS. What swagger! What a figure!
STREET ARABS. There go the sappers!
CITIZENS. What a dandy!
STUDENTS and CITIZENS. Like a general he appears!
He passes by and heeds us not!
WORK GIRLS. Like a general he appears!
Of all our hearts the conqueror!
(MUSETTA being without her shoe, cannot walk, so MARCEL and COLLINE carry her through the crowd, as they endeavor to follow the patrol. The mob, seeing her borne along in this triumphal fashion, give her a regular ovation. MARCEL and COLLINE with MUSETTA follow the patrol; RUDOLPH and MIMI follow arm in arm; SCHAUNARD goes next, blowing his horn; while the students, work-girls, street-lads, women and towns-folk merrily bring up the rear.)
(Marching in time with the music, the whole vast crowd gradually moves off as it follows the patrol. Meanwhile ALCINDORO, with a pair of shoes carefully wrapped up, returns to the cafe in search of MUSETTA. The waiter by the table takes up the bill left by MUSETTA and ceremoniously hands it to ALCINDORO, who, seeing the amount, and perceiving that they have all left him there alone, falls back into a chair, utterly dumbfounded.)
“Mimi’s voice seemed to go through Rudolph’s heart like a death-knell. His love for her was a jealous, fantastic, weird, hysterical love. Scores of times they were on the point of separating.
“It must be admitted that their existence was a veritable ‘hell-up-on-earth.’
“Thus (if life it was) did they live; a few happy days alternating with many wretched ones, while perpetually awaiting a divorce.”
“Either as a congenital defect or as a natural instinct, Musetta possessed a positive genius for elegance.
“Even in her cradle this strange creature must surely have asked for a mirror.
“Intelligent, shrewd, and above all, hostile to anything that she considered tyranny, she had but one rule—caprice.
“In truth the only man that she really loved was Marcel; perhaps because he alone could make her suffer. Yet extravagance was for her one of the conditions of well-being.”
Beyond the toll-gate, the outer boulevard is formed in the background by the Orleans high-road, half hidden by tall houses and the misty gloom of February. To the left is a tavern with a small open space in front of the toll-gate. To the right is the Boulevard d’Enfer; to the left, that of St. Jacques.
On the right also there is the entrance of the Rue d’Enfer, leading to the Quartier Latin.