Translated from the French by Ethan Spigland


Do you mind explaining to me why I always confuse Mr. Turbot with Tricot?

They do not resemble one another that much; do you think they resemble one another that much?

As for their names, there is obviously something, but frankly, there are thirty-six names as closely related as these two.

Yet, I could never lodge in my mind who was Mr. Turbot and who was Tricot.

It's very bothersome, because I don't know Mr. Turbot personally, and it happens that I sometimes greet him as Tricot, which never fails to bewilder him.

Like the other evening, I didn't say hello to Tricot, convinced that it was Mr. Turbot. It's exasperating. Furthermore, my talent for mixing things up is astonishing. I remember having maintained for an hour before fifteen people that white pearls (perles) were more rare than black pearls. Naturally, everybody mocked me, but I wouldn't give in.

I confused them with blackbirds (merles).


In those days I was madly in love with Rose. It was in the countryside; she ran a dairy (crèmerie) in the village; ah! I got my cream there; it was a pretext, you know, for visiting her. She was blond and fresh, with her sleeves always rolled up to her elbows; those arms . . . I was mad about them. And oh how the dairy was lovely! In front there was a little garden, so that one first opened the small gate of a picket fence, then took a few steps on the gravel before entering. Ah! That little garden . . . let me tell you what that garden was like . . . no, let me tell you . . . Abounding with hollyhocks (roses trémières); hollyhocks everywhere; one only saw hollyhocks upon entering.

Up to the shop's facade, where was written: