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pointed out that it was not in keeping with the Spartan, makeshift traditions of the Latin Quarter, and that it differentiated her too much from her fellows, she replied, with the frankness of her country, first, that she saw no sense in pretending to be other than she was, second, th

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at in the atmosphere of luxury to which she had been born, she was herself, for whatever that self was worth; and thirdly, that any masquerading as a liver of the simple life would choke all the agreeable qualities out of her. When, looking round her a

mateur studio, they objected that she did not take her art seriously, she cordially agreed. “I take what you call my art,” she would say, “just as it suits me. I can command too many things in the world for me to sacrifice them to the mediocre result I can get out of a paint-brush and a bit of canvas. I shall never need paint for money, and if I did I’m sure I shouldn’t earn any. But I love painting for its own sake, and I have enough talent to make it worth while to have good instruction in technique, so that my pic

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tures shall more or less satisfy myself and not set my friends’ teeth on edge. And that’s why I’m here.” She was a wealthy vagabond of independent fortune inherited from her mother long since deceased, with no living ties save her father, a railwa

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y director in America, now married to a young wife, a school-mate of her own, whom, since her childhood, she had peculiarly abhorred. But in the world, which lay wide open to her, videlicet the civilised nations of the two hemispheres, she had innumera

ble friends. No human will pretended to control her actions. She was as free to live in Rosario as in Buda-Pesth; in Nairobi as in Nijni Novgorod. For the last two or three years she had elected to establish her headquarters in Paris and study painting. But why the latter process should involve a hard bed in a shabby room and dreadful meals at the Petit Cornichon, she could never understand. Occasionally, on days of stress at the atélier, she did lunch at the Petit Cornichon. It was convenient, and, as she was young and thirsty for real draughts of life, the chatter and hubbub of insensate ambitions afforded her both interest and amusement; but she found the food execrable and the universal custom of cleaning knife, fork, spoon and plate before using them exceedingly disgusting. Yet, being a lady born and bred, she performed the objectionable rite in the most gracious way in the world; and when it came to comradeship, then her democratic traditions asserted themselves. Her student friends ranged the social gamut. If the wearer were a living spirit, she regarded broken boots and threadbare garments merely as an immaterial accident o

xurious way of living, and
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