12 April 1921

12 April 1921

Villa Isola Bella, Menton, France

But he was a good child, gentle, quiet, giving no trouble, and handy with his needle as a girl of twelve. The customers did not mind him. The big, blousy peasant women who came to his mother’s room to try on, unhooked their bodices and stood in their stays scratching their red arms and shouting at his mother without so much as a glance at him. And he could be trusted to go to shop. (With what a sigh his mother rummaged in the folds of her petticoat, brought out her shabby purse with a clasp and counted and thumbed the coins before she dropped them into his little claw.) He could be trusted to leave at the right houses large bulky newspaper parcels held together with long rusty pins. In these excursions Lucien talked to nobody & seldom stopped to look. He trotted along like a little cat out-of-doors, keeping close to the fences, darting into the shop and out again, and only revealing himself fully when he had to stand tiptoe on the top step of a house and reach up to the high knocker. This moment was terrifying to him.

[KM Notebooks, undated.]