Books: Anatole at Ease*

Careless Words Trickle Down an Old Beard

The Book. A figure beturbaned with a flowered silk handkerchief, swaddled in layers of woolly night-garments, growls among the bolsters of a four-poster like Little Red Riding Hood's grandmother. Josephine, the grumbling cook and masterful mistress, who dominates the progress of physical events in the Villa Said, draws the blinds and scoffs her master's self-pity for a feverish night. He swallows his chocolate, demolishes brioches. To this mistress, later his wife, Anatole France is a dithering old goat-beard, incapable of putting on his own underdrawers....

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