GIFT FOR YOU READERS, an excerpt from the book! “… Rue Auguste Comte, Monsieur Meyer’s butler said:
‘Please come in. Who shall I announce?’
‘Louise… Louise St Quentin.’
The young girl didn’t realize straight away that she was being watched. She had drawn closer to the picture of the ballerinas in tutus and was reading the signature: Degas. From the doorway leading into the private apartment, a man was staring at her at leisure.
He was very elegant in his beautifully cut suit made of high quality cloth. Louise thought he was probably around forty. He was tall and slim, had a fine face with regular features and his dark blond hair was growing grey at the temples. However, it was above all his delicate, long-fingered hands which had attracted the young girl’s attention. On the Moulin-sur-la-Selle estate, the men had thick hands with nails that were often broken and dirty because of their work.
As for Karl Meyer, he was also studying Louise. The young girl was captivatingly beautiful. Very dark, with deep black eyes and a soft, fair, amber-coloured complexion in a century where beauty was to do with being pale. But this hint of Spanish exoticism which came from Louise’s maternal ancestors, and which made her so different to him, attracted him irresistibly.
After the terrible flooding of the Seine in March, and the snow which had fallen so heavily in April that the branches of the trees in the Luxembourg Gardens opposite had broken under the weight, Louise’s sunny complexion warmed Karl Meyer’s heart. The vibrant sounds of the Spanish guitar of Julian Arcas playing a Fantasy rang in his ears. Of course he found the young girl’s dress really badly made for his Parisian taste, and the way it was cut, which he found completely lacking in refinement, went against his aesthetic dogma. But he also observed that, unlike all the other girls from the provinces who tended to do too much, Louise had chosen a simple model and had not, by her choice, shown any lack of taste..."