This tender and nostalgic work dates from the same period as Tropic of Cancer (1934). It is a celebration of love, art, and the Bohemian life at a time when the world was simpler and slower, and Miller an obscure, penniless young writer in Paris. Whether discussing the early days of his long friendship with Alfred Perles or his escapades at the Club Melody brothel, in Quiet Days in Clichy Miller describes a period that would shape his entire life and oeuvre.
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I was about to say that I understood perfectly when she threw herself back against the cushion, took hold of my hand and, with a roguish smile which was meant to reinforce her candor, said: "Look, I am a thoroughly lazy creature. I haven't the patience to read books. It's too much for my feeble brain."
"There are lots of other things to do in life," I answered, returning her smile. So saying, I placed my hand on her leg and squeezed it warmly. In an instant her hand covered mine, removed it to the soft, fleshy part. Then, almost as quickly, she drew my hand away with an--"Assez, nous ne sommes pas seuls id."
We sipped our drinks and relaxed. I was in no hurry to rush her off. For one thing, I was too enchanted by her speech, which was distinctive and which told me that she was not a Parisian. It was pure French she spoke, and for a foreigner like myself a joy to listen to. She pronounced every word distinctly, using almost no slang, no colloquialisms. The words came out of her mouth fully formed and with a retarded tempo, as if she had rolled them on her palate before surrendering them to the void wherein the sound and the meaning are so swiftly transformed. Her laziness, which was voluptuous, feathered the words with a soft down; they came floating to my ears like balls of fluff. Her body was heavy, earth-laden, but the sounds which issued from her throat were like the clear notes of a bell.
She was made for it, as the saying goes, but she did not impress me as an out-and-out whore. That she would go with me, and take money for it, I knew--but that doesn't make a woman a whore.
She put a hand on me and, like a trained seal, my pecker rose jubilantly to her delicatecaress.
"Contain yourself," she murmured, 'it's bad to get excited too quickly."
"Let's get out of here," said I, beckoning the waiter.
"Yes," she said, "let's go somewhere where we can talk at leisure."
The less talking the better, I thought to myself, as I gathered my things and escorted her to the street. A wonderful piece of ass, I reflected, watching her sail through the revolving door. I already saw her dangling on the end of my cock, a fresh, hefty piece of meat waiting to be cured and trimmed.
As we were crossing the boulevard she remarked how pleased she was to have found someone like me. She knew no one in Paris, she was lonesome. Perhaps I would take her abound, show her the city? It would be amusing to be guided about the city, the capital of one's own country by a stranger. Had I ever been to Amboise or Blois or Tours? Maybe we could take a trip together some day. "Ca vous plairait?"
We tripped along, chatting thus, until we came to a hotel which she seemed to know. "It's clean and cozy here," she said. "And if it's a little chilly, we will warm each other in bed." She squeezed my arm affectionately.
The room was as cozy as a nest. I waited a moment for soap and towels, tipped the maid, and locked the door. She had taken off her hat and fur piece, and stood waiting to embrace me at the window. What a warm, plantular piece of flesh! I thought she would burst into seed under my touch. In a few moments we started to undress. I sat down on the edge of the bed to unlace my shoes. She was standing beside me, pulling off her things. When I looked up she had nothing on but her stockings. She stood there, waiting for me to examine her more attentively. I got up and put my arms around her again, running my hands leisurely over the billowy folds of flesh. She pulled out of the embrace and, holding me at arm's length inquired coyly if I were not somewhat deceived.
"Deceived?" I echoed. "How do you mean?"
"Am I not too fat?" she said, dropping her eyes and resting them on her navel.
"Too fat? Why, you're marvelous. You're like a Renoir."
At this she blushed. "A Renoir?" she repeated, almost as if she had never heard the name. "No, you're joking."