Streets Full of Actors

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“Does your father know you are here, chère?” Henri looked at Deborah with somber concern in those dark brown eyes.

“Why no – non!” Deborah wanted to say something more, but stuttered and then Sophie cut in for her.

“Deborah’s parents think she is with me.” Sophie smiled at Deborah “Which is, of course, not untrue.”

Outside the small cafe, soft summer light bathed the cobblestone alley. Only inside there was conspiratorial darkness. The few older patrons who were there seemed to shun the four young students as if they hoped they would go away soon if they were duly ignored.

“We should be at the university,” Francois said. “They are going to occupy L’Odéon tonight. It will become a proper debate forum for the people.”

“The National Theatre?” Deborah gasped. She had been there with father and mother just last month to see The Nutcracker. But it was the Moulins who had invited—the whole family—and father could not say no if he wanted the deal to go through.

“The very one,” Henri said and held Deborah’s gaze. “So, chère, it is good that Sophie looks after you. Tonight is going to be a dramatic night.”

“Mm-mm,” Sophie added. “Being a revolutionary and a nursemaid has its advantages.”

“You’re not my ‘nursemaid’,” Deborah said, trying not to sound irritated. Her French was halting but she had especially keen ears when Sophie talked to the others behind her back.

“How do we best support tonight’s action?” Francois asked. “To be honest, I am not very thrilled you suggested this place, Henri—” he looked around “—I do not understand why we could not go to the university straight away.”

“If we don’t plan our input to the working group, Leland will just shout the loudest and get his way,” Henri said, looking at Francois like he was not really there.

Francois merely shook his head and gazed around impatiently. “We could have stayed in my apartment. This is too … public.”

Henri poured some beer into Deborah’s panaché. “Do not worry. I know what to do.”

“You don’t know when to stop but now you must.” Sophie put her hand over Henri’s. “I have my responsibilities, you know.”

“Cut it out, Sophie. I’m almost 18—!” Deborah took the drink and downed it. Then she looked around eagerly. “So let’s get started planning how to change the world, shall we?”

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