Fauntleroy ...... couldn't have done better
WHEN I was a child, my mother used to tell me a story on very rare and special occasions; the story ran just like this: There was a little girl Who had a little curl Right in the middle of her forehead And when she was good, she was very, very good BUT When she was bad, she was awful!Skip to next paragraph
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The story certainly contained a deep meaning (for mother) and I would sit up on my bed and ponder it over and over in my head with as much earnestness as Rodin's ``Thinker'' ponders his bronze fate.
Why did that little girl have a curl right in the middle and not on one side of her forehead, and how could she be very, very good one moment and then suddenly turn Awful?
The enigma cleared itself away, many years later when I took the heroic decision of visiting Paris with Carlo, age 10, and Giulia, age 8, my newly acquired stepchildren.
I had been summoned to Paris by Fran,cois Nourissier, a renowned French writer who courageously ventured to invite all three of us to lunch the day after our arrival.
After a 24-hour span in which we diligently examined the largest toyshop in town, purchased ``gifts for the family'' at the Galeries Lafayette, bought a print of a resigned-looking madonna at the Louvre, eye-shopped up and down the Champs-Elys'ees, halted open-mouthed before Maxim's, enjoyed an irresistible variety of creamy p^atisseries, and walked in a circle around the Mona Lisa, eluding her awesome gaze, Carlo and Giulia had had enough of ``tourism.'' This wise decision prompted us to settle like pigeons in a friend's apartment located in the very heart of Pigalle.
While the city bubbled with vitality beyond closed doors, Carlo and Giulia lay huddled up in blankets on the couch and watched me lopsidedly as I gave them what I thought to be a firm and priceless briefing on Next Day's Behavior.
But something must have been missing, for next morning before getting ready for our lunch, absolutely NOTHING seemed to move in accord with my quaint dispositions:
First of all, Carlo refused to wear his crisp white shirt and stubbornly insisted on his bedraggled turtleneck instead. Then, grabbing a large-toothed comb, he disappeared into the bathroom where he managed to flatten his hair way over his forehead, sprinkling his bangs with water and pressing them like glue to his eyes.
Thus he reappeared triumphantly, a perfect mix between an undersized gorilla and Tom Sawyer AFTER a ferocious street romp.
Even Guilia, apparently safe in her Scottish plaid skirt, suddenly discovered that her tights were a size too small. This embarrassing discovery was made exactly one second before we reached the precincts of Monsieur Nourissier's home at No. 16 Rue Henri Heine, another Distinguished Celebrity.
Nevertheless, adventures had not yet begun: Emerging from M'etro stop Auteuil into broad daylight, Carlo and Giulia decided to give the Parisian passers-by an opportunity to admire the full range of their capacities, which included such marvels as pulling hair, whizzing around the square missing cars by inches, shouting Indian war cries, and, last but not least, putting up a noisy quarrel over what kind of cake to choose as a peace pipe for Fran,cois and his sprightly painter-wife, C'ecile.