It is certainly the fact that she made a very definite impression upon me, that many of my friends had noticed it and that they had been much amused when they saw who it was that made this impression upon me.
The first time I ever saw her was in the Place de la Bourse, outside Susse's; an open carriage was stationed there, and a woman dressed in white got down from it. A murmur of admiration greeted her as she entered the shop. As for me, I was rivetted to the spot from the moment she went in till the moment when she came out again. I could see her through the shop windows selecting what she had come to buy. I might have gone in, but I dared not. I did not know who she was, and I was afraid lest she should guess why I had come in and be offended. Nevertheless, I did not think I should ever see her again.
She was elegantly dressed; she wore a muslin dress with many flounces, an Indian shawl embroidered at the corners with gold and silk flowers, a straw hat, a single bracelet, and a heavy gold chain, such as was just then beginning to be the fashion.
She returned to her carriage and drove away. One of the shopmen stood at the door looking after his elegant customer's carriage. I went up to him and asked him what was the lady's name.
"Mademoiselle Marguerite Gautier," he replied. I dared not ask him for her address, and went on my way.
The recollection of this vision, for it was really a vision, would not leave my mind like so many visions I had seen, and I looked everywhere for this royally beautiful woman in white.
A few days later there was a great performance at the Opera Comique. The first person I saw in one of the boxes was Marguerite Gautier.
The young man whom I was with recognised her immediately, for he said to me, mentioning her name: "Look at that pretty girl."