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"In a few words I explained to her my situation. She seemed moresurprised than moved.

"'Such is life,' she remarked, -' sometimes up, sometimes down.'

"And, stepping up nearer,"'What do you expect to do now?' she interrogated in a tone of voiceso different from that in which she had spoken at first, that I feltmore keenly the horror of my altered situation.

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"'I have no idea,' I replied.

"After thinking for a moment,"'You can't stay there,' she resumed: 'the gendarmes would arrestyou. Come with me. We will talk things over at the house; andI'll give you my advice.'

"I was so completely crushed, that I had neither strength nor will.

Besides, what was the use of thinking? Had I any choice ofresolutions? Finally, the woman's offer seemed to me a last favorof destiny.

"'I shall do as you say, madame,' I replied:

"She proceeded at once to load up my little baggage on her cart.

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We started; and soon we arrived 'home.'

"What she called thus was a sort of cellar, at least twelve incheslower than the street, receiving its only light through the glassdoor, in which several broken panes had been replaced by sheets ofpaper. It was revoltingly filthy, and filled with a sickening odor.

On all sides were heaps of vegetables, - cabbages, potatoes, onions.

In one corner a nameless heap of decaying rags, which she calledher bed; in the centre, a small cast-iron stove, the worn-out pipeof which allowed the smoke to escape in the room.