Ren&e Vivien page

Ξ June 30th, 2010 | → 0 Comments | ∇ Uncategorized |


    In an old quarter of the city, I discovered a strange little boutique where no shop window and no signboard attracted attention, and in which no one haggled, nor watched those strolling by.

    I entered. A man, of whom I could see nothing but a silhouette, so impenetrable was the shadow around us, appeared without a sound.

    "What, in fact, do you sell here?", I demanded of him in the thoughtlessness of my surprise.

    "Ideas", he replied to me, in a very simple tone.

    He grasped a small box and, began to rummage around in the dust:

    "Would you be an utopian, by chance? Pardon the indiscretion. Do you want ideas of peace and of universal happiness? They are not dear and I have many for sale at the moment. Take them, and you may have the whole lot for 2 fr.50."

    And, before my gesture of refusal:

    "Ah! you have sense: I do not guarantee their solidity. Now, here is a financial idea, but it is extremely rare and costly. I could not surrender it to you for less than three thousand francs."

    "Devil! did I, three thousand francs, that's..."

    He calmly interrupted me.

    "An idea less new than this one has made the fortune of a founder of American trusts. I have not profited personally, because being too rich would bore me. I would lose my friends and the respect of the quarter."

    Something like a reflection of gold shone between his fingers.

    "Now if, like me, you despise opulence, or if, which is more probable, this idea seems too high priced for you, here is, at a very good value, the dream of a poet. Three sous, this is reasonable, don't you find?"

    And he showed me a glimmer of rainbow imprisoned in a box of colours.

    "Finally, as you appear to me to belong to the serious clientele, I propose to you (your countenance is creased with a grimace which should have been a smile) the magnificent idea of a libertine, all but made new, you know, and of an exceptional refinement. I would let you have it for a thousand francs. It is worth more, but this is so that you will return often to buy others from me. I truly have a collection without equal."

    "Yes", I said, "but some of your merchandise seems to me to be well used."

    "Ah!", he replied with pride, "these, like antique furniture, are justly the most appreciated by my clientele. But do you see nothing that can satisfy you?"

    "I desire an idea that you can never sell me: an idea of my own."


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